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DOH drafting EO to limit firecracker use in PH

MANILA, Philippines – With the holiday season just around the corner, will the country see less firecracker-related injuries under the Duterte administration?

Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial on Wednesday, October 12, revealed the Department of Health (DOH) is now drafting an executive order (EO) that would limit the use and possession of firecrackers or pyrotechnic devices in the Philippines.

"The Department of Health has been firm in our position, ever since the past administration, that we would like to limit the use of firecrackers, pyrotechnics, and fireworks to trained professionals. We don't want it to be available to the general public. 'Yung mga (The) controlled and supervised display and use of firecrackers and pyrotechnics, 'yun pa rin ang ina-advocate namin (that is still what we advocate for)," Ubial said on Wednesday.

Ubial was reacting to news of a fire at a firecracker warehouse in Bocaue, Bulacan on Wednesday morning which killed one person and left several others injured.

The proposed EO, which the DOH expects President Rodrigo Duterte to sign before November, wants a shift from individual household use of firecrackers to a community fireworks display.

"We're hoping, because it was done in Davao, and I was the regional director during the time we implemented it in Davao, we had zero cases of firecracker injuries in Davao," Ubial explained.

She hopes the President will support the call for the implementation of a nationwide firecracker ban.

Asked if the ban will happen soon, Ubial answered: "Kung mapirmahan ng Presidente (If the President signs it), and I think he has the political will [to implement nationwide] what has to be done in Davao."

"We in the Department of Health fully support that initiative because we see the suffering and the…cause to the people – especially very young children and productive adults – if they lose their limbs to firecrackers."

Davao City has prohibited the manufacture, sale, distribution, possession, or use of firecrackers or pyrotechnic devices in the city since 2002. Duterte, who was mayor then, signed the city ordinance. Rappler.com

Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.

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