• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The Department of Health and its partner agencies yesterday launched its annual “Oplan Iwas Paputok” campaign, with the theme “Ligtas Christmas Healthy Pilipinas”, advocating for the reduction of firecracker and pyrotechnic related injuries in marking the yuletide season.
The campaign aims to guide the public on easy and doable ways to safely celebrate the Holiday Season. DOH Western Visayas records showed that Negros Occidental topped provinces and highly urbanized cities in Region 6, with the highest number of firecracker related incidents last year at 77 cases, with 16 cases recorded in highly urbanized Bacolod City.
In a press briefing, Dr. Bea Camille Natalaray, DOH-6 medical officer IV, yesterday said that the DOH campaign for “Ligtas Christmas, Healthy Pilipinas” includes three components, such as Healthy Handaan, Healthy Christmas, and Iwas Paputok.
The promotion of the Iwas Paputok campaign of DOH, is also in tandem with the Philippine National Police and Bureau of Fire Protection, among other government agencies.
For the sale of legal firecrackers and pyrotechnics, there will be designated areas, which are to be determined by the local government units, according to the PNP and BFP.
PLt. Col. Joem Malong, deputy provincial police director for Operations, disclosed that the selling and manufacturing of firecrackers and pyrotechnics are regulated, with permits to be secured from the PNP Firearms and Explosive Unit.
Aside from being safe, the DOH also underscores the importance of choosing healthier options during the festivities, which can be done through food moderation, consumption of well-balanced and nutrient-rich foods, avoidance of the harmful intake of alcohol, and cessation of cigarette smoking and vaping.
To continue the gains of the country in preventing firework-related Injuries, the DOH reminds the public to use safer alternatives to firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices, by participating in community fireworks displays and by using other noise and light producing devices such as sound systems, light emitting devices, percussion instruments, pans, tambourines, and bells.
Malong said that banned firecrackers include peculo, watusi, giant whistle bomb, giant bawang, large Judas Belt, boga, Goodbye Earth, Goodbye Bading, Hello Columbia.*