To prevent fires and accidents caused by the illegal use of firecrackers, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) directs local government units (LGUs) all over the country and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to remain vigilant and be on top in enforcing the regulation of firecrackers in the country, particularly during this holiday season.
“Upang maiwasan ang anumang sakuna o sunog na dulot ng paputok, kailangang ipatupad ng mga LGUs ang kautusan laban sa paggamit ng paputok,” says DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año.
The DILG chief says that their target is the continuous decline of firecracker related injuries this year. "For this year, sana mas bumaba pa ang mga masasaktan dahil sa paputok. Kaya naman natin kung gugustohin," he says.
Under Republic Act 7183, an act regulating the sale, manufacture, distribution and use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices, the PNP should determine what constitute as prohibited firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices and promulgate rules and regulations necessary to regulate and control their use.
Likewise, local chief executives are authorized to promulgate the necessary rules and regulations on firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices within their territorial jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, Executive Order 28 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte, which provides for the regulation and control of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices, states that the use of fireworks shall be confined to community fireworks display.
EO 28 says that fireworks display must be conducted on the occasion or as part of a celebration, competition, or similar event held in a venue other than a place of residence, and must be done under the supervision of a trained personnel duly licensed by the PNP.
Display of fireworks must also be granted permission by the concerned LGU 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.
Año says that the PNP and LGUs must be cognizant in implementing the stipulations of the law to ensure the continuous decline of fireworks related accidents during the holiday season.
"Napakahalaga ng bahagi ng PNP at LGUs sa pagpapatupad ng batas laban sa pagpapaputok tuwing panahon ng Kapaskuhan at Bagong Taon, at sa pagtiyak ng kaligtasan ng ating mga kababayan," he says.
Among the banned firecrackers are: Watusi, piccolo, super lolo, atomic triangle, large Judas belt, large bawang, pillbox, bosa, Goodbye Philippines, Bin Laden, mother rocket, lolo thunder, coke in can, atomic bomb, five star, pla-pla, giant whistle bomb and kabasi.
Oplan Iwas Paputok
In the same vein, the DILG Chief directs the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to never let their guard down to provide assistance in case fire incidents, including those caused by the illegal use of firecrackers, occur during the period.
Records from the BFP show that last New Year's Eve, there were 14 fire incidents reported nationwide which took place between the evening of December 31, 2018 leading to January 1, 2018.
In the said data, majority of fire accidents were caused by pyrotechnics and firecracker usage.
Año says that as most fire incidents last New Year's Eve originated from residential areas, the persistence of the BFP, PNP and LGUs in communicating the relevance of fire safety measures is timely and relevant.
"In this Christmas and New Year's season, when people can get a little too excited, fire accidents are likely to take place kaya naman mas lalong higit nating kailangang bantayan ang ating mga kabahayan at gusali laban sa sunog," he adds.
BFP Spokesperson F/Supt. Joanne Vallejo says the fire bureau has been on its toes in ensuring that the Christmas and New Year's season will be fire-hazard-free through its Oplan Iwas Paputok program.
Vallejo says that Oplan Iwas Paputok aims to promote public safety against fire and emergencies through intensified fire prevention information campaigns; to enforce the provision of the Fire Code; and coordinate all efforts in fire and emergency response with concerned agencies, LGUs, law enforcement agencies.
"Hindi po kami magpapabaya. Ang Oplan Iwas Paputok po ang aming paraan upang tiyakin na ang pagdiriwang ng Bagong Taon ng ating mga kababayan ay magiging ligtas. Makakaasa po sila na BFP will be there when they need us," she explains.###