MANILA -- In an effort to curb firecracker-related injuries for public health and safety, Malacañang on Sunday encouraged Filipinos to use alternative noisemakers like toy trumpets to welcome the New Year.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo hoped the public would observe a safe New Year by avoiding the dangers of using fireworks.

“Well, gaya ng palagi niyang taun-taon na pinapakiusap sa taumbayan, tayo’y mag-saya, salubungin natin ang Kapaskuhan ng buong mataimtim na pagdarasal at pagtanggap sa mga biyayang binigay sa atin (Well, just like our appeal to the public, let’s have fun and welcome the Christmas with a solemn prayer and acceptance of blessings),” the Palace official said in an interview over dzIQ.

At kung maaari ay iwasan natin ang lahat ng magdadala ng sakuna sa ating katawan (And if possible, let us avoid any incidents that may injure us),” he added.

A total of 139 firecracker-related injuries have been recorded by the Department of Health from Dec. 21, 2018 to Jan. 5, 2019.

On June 20, 2017, Duterte signed Executive Order (EO) 28, promulgating "stricter" rules and regulations on the use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices to prevent injuries and casualties recorded every holiday season.

Duterte's EO 28 confines the use of firecrackers to "community displays" that must be under the supervision of a "trained person" duly licensed by the Philippine National Police (PNP).

The President also inked Memorandum Order (MO) 31 on Oct. 9, 2018, suspending the granting of new licenses and permits for the manufacture, sale, and distribution of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices, pending review of existing licenses and permits.

MO 31 also orders the PNP to conduct inspections to ensure that manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and users of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices are in compliance with the safety guidelines cited under existing laws, rules and regulations.

In January this year, Duterte called on Congress to approve a measure that would impose a total ban on deadly firecrackers and pyrotechnics.

But on Oct. 28, the President said he would let the local chief executive exercise their discretion in implementing the ban on firecrackers in their respective areas, pending the passage of a law.

Panelo reminded the public that they can still have fun during the holidays without endangering their lives.

Maaari naman tayong magdiwang ng Kapaskuhan at ng Bagong Taon sa pamamagitan ng pagsasaya nang hindi natin inilalagay ang buhay natin at ang bahagi ng ating mga katawan sa panganib (We can celebrate Christmas and New Year without putting our lives at risk),” he said. (PNA)