Ensure fewer casualties this new year revelry – PNoy

December 31, 2012 4:36 am 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, Dec. 30 — President Benigno Aquino III on Sunday met with concerned government agencies to know their preparations to ensure fewer casualties this new year revelry.

Officials from the Departments of Health (DOH) and of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Bureau of Fire Protection briefed the President on their measures to minimize number of injuries due to firecracker-use.

Health Undersecretary Ted Herbosa reported that the DOH has improved its monitoring and surveillance by going "online".

Concerning latest fireworks-related injuries, Herbosa said,"As of today, itong December 21 to 28 our current monitoring, we’re going lower than the previous year. Pero we cannot give a final (conclusion) until after January 5."

The DOH has recorded some 171 cases of firecrackers-related injuries, two days before the new year revelry.

DILG Undersecretary Rafael Santos, for his part, said the Department is coordinating with the local government units (LGUs) by issuing memorandum circulars for them to conduct information campaigns and to control the use of firecrackers by designating areas where these can be sold and be lit up.

President Aquino asked why "Piccolo", a type of firecracker which victimizes mostly children, are still available in the market despite the ban.

"I’m just curious, ‘yung ‘Piccolo’ targeted ‘yung children — banned but it still produces the most number. Parang ‘yung bata ang hirap i-imagine na mamimili surreptitiously, ‘di ba? So kung talagang serious itong kampanyang ito, parang dapat sa atin ma-eradicate ‘yan. But I guess that’s the PNP role," he stressed.

So far, the PNP said it has confiscated some P11.9-million worth of illegal firecrackers.

Policemen are also sealing their guns to prevent indiscrimate firing on new year's eve.

Meanwhile, President Aquino asked the BFP to conduct study to determine the cause and identify areas prone to blaze resulting from firecrackers. This to enable the government to better identify the target of its campaign and to lessen the number of fire incidents.

The BFP, on the other hand, appealed for a ban on firecrackers, saying it is one of the major causes of fires. (PNA)

PDS/LGI

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