Ubial: EO on firecracker ban will help deter indiscriminate firing

Mara Cepeda
Ubial: EO on firecracker ban will help deter indiscriminate firing
DOH Secretary Paulyn Ubial also says once President Rodrigo Duterte signs the proposed Executive Order, authorities would be able to regulate the use of firecrackers and reduce injuries

MANILA, Philippines – Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said on Sunday, January 1, that the proposed nationwide ban on firecrackers would help deter indiscriminate firing that often claim lives on New Year’s Eve.

Ubial made the statement in a news briefing on firecracker-related injuries as the country welcomed the new year which, she said, dropped to a 10-year low in 2016.

“We can actually monitor better the stray bullets if we don’t have the corresponding firecrackers firing up. Mapipinpoint kung sino nagpapaputok (Those who are firing guns can be pinpointed) during this season if we eliminate the firecrackers,” she said.

During the press conference, Ubial cited the case of a 15-year-old girl in Malabon City who, she said, was hit by a “stray bullet” on New Year’s Eve. The Philippine National Police clarified the case was actually caused by a shooting.

The health chief said she’s hoping that President Rodrigo Duterte will finally sign the proposed executive order (EO) imposing a nationwide firecracker ban early this year.

Tapos na ang complete staff work ng DOH and Presidential Management Staff so inaasahan ko po within this month (The complete staff work of the DOH and the Presidential Management Staff us complete so I’m hoping it will be passed this month) and I will be pushing for Malacañang’s issuance as early as possible so that we can avoid all these unnecessary injuries,” Ubial said.

Duterte had deferred signing the EO after several industry groups lobbied against it, citing loss of profit and livelihood as reasons. The DOH and the Depatment of Environment and Natural Resources are supporting the proposed EO.

On Sunday, Ubial explained that the EO would help authorities monitor and regulate the use of firecrackers. The DOH noted a total of 350 fireworks-related injuries as the country welcomed 2017, 60% lower than the 5-year average from 2011 to 2015. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.