BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The Department of Health – Western Visayas still discourages the use of “torotot,” or horn noisemakers, to usher the New Year, as they may still cause the spread of COVID-19.
Before the pandemic struck, DOH6 Health Support Division officer in charge Dr. May Ann Sta. Lucia said that the DOH advocated the use of “torotot” in welcoming the New Year.
While we are now under the new normal, with COVID 19 is still around, Sta. Lucia said they are discouraging the people from using it as it could cause the spread of virus.
While gatherings are allowed under the new normal, she said that DOH is also encouraging the continued practice of minimum health protocols such as the use of face masks, observing physical distancing, frequent washing of hands and use of hand sanitizers.
The health reminders were issued by Sta. Lucia during the launching of ‘Oplan Iwas Paputok’ campaign in Negros Occidental. The province logged the highest number of firecracker related incidents in Region 6 during the Christmas and New Year revelry last year.
Sta. Lucia reported that they recorded 60 firecracker related incidents in Negros Occidental, including 10 incidents in highly urbanized Bacolod City, from December 21, 2021 to January 6, 2022.
The province of Iloilo, including highly urbanized Iloilo City, logged 33 cases only, with less victims recorded in other provinces of Western Visayas, DOH6 records showed.
Sta. Lucia attributed the high number of blast victims in the province to the existence of firecracker factories in Negros Occidental.
DOH records further showed that majority of the victims of firecrackers injuries last year were within the age bracket of 10 to 20 years old, with injuries mostly involving the eyes. However, no casualties were reported last year.
DOH anticipates an increase of firecracker-related incidents, expecting people to return to the pre-pandemic ways of celebrating the holidays.
Sta. Lucia said DOH urges the public to patronize traditional noise-making, such as the use of musical instruments, cooking utensils and other objects, instead of using firecrackers.*