Duterte might consider amending the law to eventually adopt a total firecracker ban
Manila: Almost 200 people, including an 11-month-old baby and a 96-year-old man were injured by firecrackers that Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has banned to stop his countrymen from dangerously celebrating New Year, the health minister said.
“An 11-month-old baby boy was hit in the knee by Pop-pop, a legal firecracker, in Manila’s Malate on December 23. Because of his case, and the rising number of children who became passive victims this year, the government might totally ban firecrackers,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque told Gulf News, adding, “The 96-year-old victim was an active user who suffered second-degree burn.” He did not reveal their names.
“The government’s current campaign against fireworks has reduced the number of injuries to 191 from December 21 to January 1, 2018, down by 32 per cent, from 604 cases in the same period last year. [The] recent number is 77 per cent lower compared to average cases of injuries over the past five years,” said Duque.
Of the eight banned firecrackers — atomic big triangulo, goodbye earth, boga (improvised cannon), judas belt, piccolo, super lolo, triangulo, and whistle bomb (rocket)— the match-stick sized piccolo accounted for 49 per cent of cases; rocket 7 per cent; boga 5 per cent, and the rest accounted for 39 per cent, said Duque.
“There has been zero death despite one stray bullet incident. There was no firecracker ingestion. There were seven amputations in 2017, compared to 19 by end of 2016,” said Duque, adding 115 cases in 2017 came from the National Capital Region, the rest occurred in southern Luzon and central Philippines. Counting will end on January 5.
Praising the latest data of Aksyon Paputok (firecrackers) Injury Reduction (APIR), Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said, “We proved that despite the huge decrease of firecrackers during New Year’s revelry, we can still happily celebrate. We really don’t need to lose fingers, hands, or eyes to welcome the New Year.”
Roque hinted that Duterte might consider amending a law to eventually adopt a total firecracker ban.
Foreigners who watched fireworks and firecrackers display on New Year’s Eve from high rises gushed that the city was “on fire”.
Duterte’s executive order signed in June called on local government units to handle fireworks display and also to designate areas for lighting of firecrackers under the supervision of trained people. As a mayor, he signed an ordinance that banned the manufacture, sale, distribution, possession and use of firecrackers in Davao City in 2002.
The majority of Filipinos are Catholics. Their dangerous celebrations of New Year have been influenced by Chinese traditions that use fire and noise to drive away bad spirits.