GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 28 Nov) – Health authorities in Region 12 are targeting to achieve zero casualty rate in terms of firecracker-related injuries in the coming Christmas and New Year holidays.
Dr. Teogenes Baluma, Department of Health (DOH) Region 12 director, said they have launched a series of massive public awareness campaigns in the region to remind residents about the risks and hazards of using firecrackers and fireworks.
As early as October, he said they started coordinating with local government health offices for the launching of separate information and education campaigns.
“Our campaign is mainly focused on children as they are our usual victims,” Baluma said in a radio interview.
Dubbed “Tutok Bata, Kontra Pauputok,” he said they are currently conducting orientation-seminars for local health workers and other concerned sectors, including the media, in connection with the campaign.
He said they are also set to distribute posters and other campaign materials to local government units, health offices, hospitals and schools.
Aside from children, Baluma said it is important for parents to be well aware of the risks of using firecrackers and fireworks so they can also properly educate their children.
Jenny Ventura, DOH-12 health education officer, said parents should make sure that their children would not be exposed to firecrackers and fireworks, especially during the holidays.
She said their records showed that majority of the firecracker-related injury cases in the region these past years involved children aged 6 to 12.
The DOH-12 recorded a total of 146 firecracker-related injuries during the previous Christmas and New Year celebrations in the region.
Most of the injuries were caused by kwitis, 5-star triangulo and the banned piccolo firecrackers.
“Most of the firecracker accidents happened at home and there were cases wherein the fathers and other adults were the culprits,” Ventura said.
DOH-12 has been closely coordinating with police units in the region for the proper enforcement of the ban on firecrackers and fireworks that were considered as high risk and those that exceeded the allowable explosive content.
Such move was based on the provisions of Republic Act 7183 or the “Act Regulating the Sale, Manufacture, Distribution and Use of Firecrackers and other Pyrotechnic Devices.”
Among the banned materials are watusi or the “dancing firecracker,” piccolo, super lolo, atomic big triangulo, mother rockets, lolo thunder, pillbox, boga, big Judas’ belt, big bawang, goodbye Philippines, kabasi, five star, pla-pla, OG, giant whistle bomb and unlabeled firecrackers.
The DOH and the Department of Trade and Industry had issued prohibitions regarding the use and selling of the said firecrackers and fireworks.