IWAS PAPUTOK | DOH advises parents, guardians to be more vigilant

The Department of Health (DOH) today strongly advised parents and caregivers to be more vigilant and never let their children buy or use fireworks or firecrackers.

“It is best to coordinate with local officials in your barangay to identify the designated public fireworks display in your area to avoid injuries arising from exploding fireworks or firecrackers.” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said, adding that these activities are better handled by experts.

The health chief added that under Executive Order No. 28 series of 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered communities to organize public display of fireworks in order to minimize the risk of injuries and casualties.

Under EO No. 28, a display of fireworks qualifies as a community fireworks display if it complies with all of the following conditions:
a. It is conducted on the occasion or as part of a celebration, competition, or similar event in a venue other than a place of residence;
b. It is conducted under the supervision of a trained person duly-licensed by the Philippine National Police;
c. It is allowed by the municipality/city concerned through a permit specifying the date and time of the fireworks display and the specific area in which the display will be conducted, in conformity with national standards, rules and regulations.

Sec. 2 of RA 7183 enumerates the types of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices that may be manufactured, sold and distributed in the country. Some of these are Baby rocket, Bawang, Small triangulo, Pulling of strings, Paper caps, El Diablo, Kwitis, Sparklers, Luces, Fountain, Trompillo, Airwolf, Roman candle and other similar devices.

Meanwhile, from December 21-29 of this year, there are now 72 fireworks-related injuries recorded. This is 59% (104 cases) lower than the five-year average (2012-2016) and 40% (48 cases) lower than the same period last year. There was no reported death. Also, there were no cases of fireworks ingestion and stray bullet injuries.

Majority (96% or 69 cases) of all cases were males. Most (76% or 55) cases were active users and 75% (54 cases) occurred in the streets. Top injury sites include hand (68%), eye (15%), head (10%), neck and legs (4% each). Other victims were injured in multiple body parts.
Majority (82%, 59 cases) of the cases sustained blast injuries without amputation while 15% (11 cases) are eye injuries. Age of cases ranged from 11 months to 62 years.

Top fireworks-causing injury are piccolo (61%), boga (8%), kwitis (6%) and whistle bomb (4%). Others were due to illegal fireworks.

Of the total 72 cases, majority were from the National Capital Region (38), followed by Western Visayas (9), Bicol Region (8), and Central Visayas (5).

At the National Capital Region, Manila has the most (21) number of cases, followed by Mandaluyong City and Quezon City with 4 cases each, Valenzuela City (3 cases), while Las PiƱas City and Pasig City has 2 cases each.

“Fireworks injuries are preventable. Safe and secured public display of fireworks is one alternative to reducing injuries and deaths,” Duque concluded.