Urging Local Officials to Ban Firecrackers

A dog guards firecrackers being sold on a streetside store in Luzon Ave., Diliman, Quezon City. Due to tradition, no one seems to hear the health department's warning for people to stop using firecrackers to welcome the new year as these would likely cause injuries and fires.

by MAX PASION
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MANILA, Philippines: Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos is taking steps to ensure the safety of communities during the holiday season. He is urging local government units (LGUs) to pass ordinances that prohibit the use of firecrackers, a move that can significantly reduce fireworks-related accidents.

Recognizing the potential dangers associated with firecrackers, Abalos is advocating for supervised fireworks displays in common spaces, such as municipal town halls and other designated areas. By providing a controlled environment for fireworks, LGUs can help mitigate the risks and ensure the safety of both residents and visitors.

“I am calling for a local ordinance prohibiting the use of firecrackers and restricting fireworks display in communities. Anyway, we can celebrate the New Year properly even without fireworks,” Abalos emphasized during the Lab 4 All: Christmas for All gift-giving activity at the Jose Fabella Center in Mandaluyong City on Monday night.

Abalos’ call for action aligns with the efforts of then-president Rodrigo Duterte, who, in 2017, signed Executive Order 28 to regulate and control the use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices. This executive order aimed to reduce the number of firecracker-related injuries and promote a safer and more peaceful celebration of the New Year.

Highlighting successful implementations of similar measures in other local governments, such as Davao City and Quezon City, Abalos urged LGUs to replicate these practices. By adopting these regulations, LGUs can ensure consistency in safety protocols across the country, protecting the public from the hazards associated with firecracker use.

It is essential to contextualize the need for these regulations within the local customs and laws of the Philippines. Firecrackers have long been a traditional part of New Year celebrations in the country, symbolizing the drive to ward off evil spirits and welcome good fortune. However, the increasing number of firecracker-related accidents and injuries has prompted authorities to take action.

By encouraging local ordinances, Abalos is not seeking to eliminate the joy and festivity associated with New Year celebrations. Rather, he aims to shift the focus towards safer alternatives that can still create a memorable experience for everyone.

Fireworks displays in controlled environments, supervised by professionals, can provide the same sense of awe and wonder while minimizing the risks. Additionally, alternative forms of celebration that do not involve firecrackers, such as community events, concerts, and light shows, can be organized to ensure a festive atmosphere.

It is crucial for LGUs to consider the long-term benefits of these regulations. By reducing the number of firecracker-related accidents, communities can avoid unnecessary injuries and medical emergencies, which can strain local healthcare systems. Moreover, the financial burden associated with treating these injuries can be alleviated, allowing resources to be directed towards other pressing community needs.

Abalos’ call for action serves as a reminder that safety should be a top priority during the holiday season. By implementing local ordinances and promoting supervised fireworks displays, LGUs can contribute to a safer and more enjoyable celebration for all. Let us embrace these measures, preserving the spirit of the festivities while safeguarding the well-being of our communities.

Source: The Manila Times

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