DOH considers recommending total firecracker ban to Duterte

Mara Cepeda

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DOH considers recommending total firecracker ban to Duterte

Darren Langit

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III says imposing a total ban on firecrackers would require the government to provide alternative sources of livelihood to vendors who would lose their jobs

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III said was considering eventually recommending to President Rodrigo Duterte to impose a total ban on firecracker use nationwide.

On Monday, January 1, the DOH chief was asked his view on the government possibly completely banning the use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnics during the New Year’s Eve festivities.  

“I think that should be a subject of discussions, study and discussions, within the official arm of the Department of Health that can make the recommendation as you mentioned. I think the end goal really is to ban fireworks completely. And I think eventually that should be the ultimate goal,” said Duque. 

He said the steps the government is taking now – like Duterte signing Executive Order No 28 which banned the use of firecrackers in private residences and only allowed use in specific areas – is a step towards a possible total ban. (READ: Locations of firecracker zones in Metro Manila for New Year’s Eve)

Still, Duque said Duterte’s move to regulate the use and manufacture of firecrackers meant the President understands imposing a total ban is a complicated matter. 

The Cabinet official said should a total ban on firecrackers be implemented, concerned agencies like the DOH and the Department of Labor and Employment would have to come up with a system wherein firecracker sellers will be given a proper alternative sources of livelihood. 

“I think the reason behind the President’s signing the EO 28, which is really a control and regulation of fireworks, is because that reflects the sensitivity of the President. Meaning to say, he understands the dilemma of an absolute and total ban will create,” said Duque.  

From December 21, 2017 to January 1, 2018, DOH recorded a total of 191 cases of firecracker-related injuries, mostly from the National Capital Region. The said figure is 77% lower than the 5-year average from 2012 to 2016. –

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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 or tweet @maracepeda.