DOH to kids, parents: Fireworks are not toys

By Ma. Teresa Montemayor

December 27, 2023, 2:15 pm Updated on December 27, 2023, 4:28 pm

MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday reminded families that fireworks are not toys or things to play around with as it reported new injuries involving two teenagers who lost their fingers.

In its latest case bulletin, the DOH recorded 23 additional fireworks-related injuries (FWRI) ranging from 6 to 55 years old, mostly males, from Dec. 21 to 27.

“The new cases include two new amputations, both involving the illegal Pla-pla lit by male teenagers who lost their fingers,” the DOH said. “One amputation case yesterday was misreported, hence the total number of amputations this season is now six.”

The DOH reminded the public that parents and older siblings should set an example for the young men in their families to ensure every family member has complete hands and fingers.

Currently, the FWRIs have reached 75 and about 96 percent happened at home and on the streets, mostly by males with active involvement.

The new FWRIs occurred at home and on the streets with 61 percent or 14 cases due to illegal fireworks, and 57 percent or 13 cases with active involvement or those who used/lit the fireworks.

Under the Philippine National Police list the prohibited firecrackers are Watusi, Piccolo, Poppop, Five Star, Pla-pla, Lolo Thunder, Giant Bawang, Giant Whistle Bomb, Atomic Bomb, Super Lolo, Atomic Triangle, Goodbye Bading, Large-size Judas Belt, Goodbye Philippines, Goodbye Delima, Bin Laden, Hello Columbia, Mother Rockets, Goodbye Napoles, Coke-in-Can, Super Yolanda, Pillbox, Mother Rockets, Boga, Kwiton, Kabasi,  all overweight and oversized firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices (FCPD),  all imported finished products,  other unlabelled locally made FCPD products,  and other types of firecrackers with other brands/names equivalent to those that are prohibited.

Most of the cases are from the National Capital Region with 30 or 40 percent of the tally; Central Luzon with 9 or 12 percent, and the Ilocos Region with 6 or 8 percent.

Six out of every 10 cases of FWRIs are due to illegal fireworks.

DILG to LGUs: Enforce firecracker ban

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. called on local government units (LGUs) to strictly enforce ordinances banning the use of illegal firecrackers to minimize, if not totally eliminate injuries for the New Year revelry.

Based on DILG data, Abalos said at least 1,210 LGUs already have ordinances banning the use of harmful firecrackers in their respective localities.

He commended the 35 LGUs that have complied with his recent call to pass ordinances on the measure.

“Walang saysay ang mga polisiyang ito kung hindi natin ma-implement sa ating mga barangay (These policies are useless if we can't implement them in our barangays),” he said.

Meanwhile, Col. Jay Guillermo, chief of the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group’s Cyber Response unit, discouraged the public from buying firecrackers sold online.

“My personal take on this is that these can be used by criminals. They can buy firecrackers with a huge amount of gunpowder and if you combine them all, they can turn into explosives. There is a need to regulate the sale of these firecrackers so that we can monitor who buys them,” he told reporters.

Resort to safe alternatives

Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna, meanwhile, appealed to residents to resort to safer ways to celebrate the New Year.

"Public safety remains our foremost concern. I am appealing to all barangay authorities to convince their constituents to resort to safer ways of welcoming the New Year like using pots and pans or the traditional party horns," she said.

Lacuna also encouraged barangays to designate common fireworks display areas where the residents may watch altogether in a safe and controlled environment. (with reports from Lloyd Caliwan and Ferdinand Patinio/PNA)