No fireworks injuries in Eastern Visayas

PEACEFUL NEW YEAR. Various firecrackers displayed in a retail store in Tacloban City’s downtown area on Dec. 29, 2020. The Department of Health said Eastern Visayas has reported zero firecracker-related injuries as of Saturday (Jan. 2, 2021). (PNA photo by Roel Amazona)

TACLOBAN CITY – Eastern Visayas has welcomed a peaceful and safe New Year with no reported firecracker-related injuries as of Saturday, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

DOH Eastern Visayas head Exuperia Sabalberino acknowledged the coordinated efforts of all the stakeholders for the efficient implementation of the “Oplan Iwas Paputok” amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

“We are happy to announce that the region recorded zero firecracker-related injuries during this year’s revelry. We would like to extend our gratitude to all our partners, the local government units, socio-civic organizations, and the media, who played an important role in the success of our advocacies,” she said in a press statement.

Last year, the region recorded a total of 15 firecracker-related injuries due to the use of boga, kwitis, five star, whistle bomb, recycled firecracker powder, binggala and piccolo.

According to the Philippine National Police (PNP), 45 retailers and five dealers in the region have secured special permits to sell firecrackers during the holiday.

The number is lower compared with last year’s 56 retailers and six dealers due to the expected decrease in sales as movement and quarantine restrictions remain in place to contain the spread of Covid-19, the PNP said.

In June 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order (EO) 28 providing for the regulation and control of the use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices.

In the region, the consistent reduction of firecracker-related injuries has been recorded since the implementation of EO 28 from 106 cases in 2017, 44 each in 2018 and 2019, 15 in 2020, to zero this year.

Based on the monitoring of the PNP, cities, and towns in the region have issued ordinances prohibiting the manufacture, distribution, sale, and use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices in their respective areas following the recommendation of the Regional Peace and Order Council.

Meanwhile, the police reported two indiscriminate firing cases involving a village official and a civilian in Maydolong, Eastern Samar, and Calbayog City in Samar, respectively.

No one was injured during the incidents that happened on Dec. 21 and 23, respectively, the PNP said.

Last year, the police arrested four civilians due to illegal discharge of firearms. (PNA)

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