PNP on ‘high alert’ for New Year revelry

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PNP on ‘high alert’ for New Year revelry
The DILG wants to turn the potentially dangerous celebration into the 'safest holiday season'

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) has placed its entire 150,000-strong force on high alert for New Year’s Eve celebrations, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) announced Monday, December 29.

The DILG said this is in line with its vision of turning the potentially dangerous celebration into the “safest holiday season.”

As early as December 16, the PNP had increased its police presence in key public areas like malls and transport terminals for the holiday season, the DILG said.

“Safety is our Christmas gift to our people,” Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II earlier said. He also urged the public to celebrate the New Year “as safely and as peacefully as possible.” 

The DILG added that the law prohibiting firearms or RA 10591 will be enforced strictly to deter injuries, and even fatal accidents, involving stray bullets.

In 2014, around 22 people were injured due to stray bullets. This includes one fatality, a 3-month-old baby in Ilocos Sur. 

The PNP said it has already begun taping police officers’ firearms to prevent its personnel from using their firearms during the festivities.

Police Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina said the national police force is committed to ensure the public’s safety during the celebration.

“The PNP remains focused in doing its job in maintaining the peace and order situation in the country,” Espina said.

Iwas Paputok 2014

Meanwhile, the PNP said it supports the “Iwas Paputok 2014” campaign of the Department of Health (DOH) to restrict the use of firecrackers during the holiday season.

Suspected retailers and owners of illegal firecrackers will be sanctioned pursuant to RA 7138, which controls and regulates fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices, the PNP said.

Firecrackers that contain explosives with more than 0.2 grams or 1/3 of a teaspoon, known to cause serious injury or death, are specifically prohibited.

In 2014, injuries from fireworks and firecrackers reached at least 600. This was 43% higher than the same period in 2013.  

From December 16 to 5:25 am of December 29, the PNP recorded 68 incidents, with 13 people arrested and at least 16,021 prohibited items confiscated.

Below is the current breakdown of fireworks/ firecrackers related incidents:

  • Total number of Incidents – 68
  • Total number of persons arrested – 13
  • Total number of items confiscated – 16,021
    • Super Lolo, Lolo Thunder/ Atomic/ Big Trianggulo, Goodbye Philippines – 338
    • Others (Watusi, Picollo, Mother Rockets, Pillbox, Boga, Big Judah’s Belt, Big Bawang, Kwiton, Kabasi) – 15,683
  • Total number of stray bullets – 10
  • Total number of stray bullets casualties – 7
  • Total number of illegal discharge of firearms – 9
  • Total number of illegal discharge of firearms casualties – 4

The public is advised to report incidents of prohibited use of firecrackers and indiscriminate use of guns to the PNP hotline (9178475757 for text message) or the PNP twitter account @PNPhotline (for social media reports). – David Lozada/

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