DOH includes religious sectors among its partners in campaign vs illegal firecrackers

December 23, 2015 6:34 am 

By Leilani S. Junio

MANILA, Dec. 22 (PNA) — In a move to make the campaign against illegal firecrackers more effective, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Tuesday it has sought the help of the religious sectors in spreading information to the public on the need to be safe and avoid firecracker-related injuries during the upcoming Christmas and New Year celebrations.

According to DOH Secretary Janette L. Garin, they have asked church leaders to include in their messages to the faithful attending various religious activities on the good side of celebrating the merrymaking days in a manner that will not be destructive to the future of the people, particularly children.

She noted that it will be very effective if the priests can also include in their homilies during the ongoing "Simbang Gabi" or dawn masses the importance of avoiding life-threatening injuries, or even deaths, that can result from using and lighting prohibited or illegal pyrotechnics during the holiday celebrations.

Secretary Garin said that during the launching of the DOH's “Iwas Paputok Campaign” earlier this month in Tondo, Manila, they announced that they would be seeking the assistance and cooperation of the Department of Education (DepEd) to help them spread in the schools the importance of knowing how destructive firecrackers can be among the children.

However, since it is now school vacation period for students, the campaign has not been given enough time to be disseminated further in the schools so that more students and parents can be given information or help in spreading them in the community where they belong.

“Ang naging move ng DOH now ay makipag-ugnayan sa simbahan… Na sa araw-araw na pagtungo ng mga tao sa simbhan para sa Simbang Gabi ay maisama rin ang kampanya sa Iwas Paputok,” Secretary Garin said.

She said that the religious sectors can help a lot in influencing their believers consisting of families and other people in the communities, specially the children, on the need to prevent firecracker-related injuries.

Since many disabilities, particularly among children, can happen as a consequence of injuries due to firecrackers ignited during Christmas and New Year revelries, the DOH has been partnering with other government agencies, environmental groups and local government units (LGUs) in preventing the use of illegal firecrackers.

“Ang ikinalulungkot natin ay mga bata pa rin ang naaapektuhan,” the DOH Chief said, citing that most disabilities are in the form of losing fingers, hands, eyesight, and other damages to the body among children consisting of active and non-active firecracker igniters.

She added that such disabilities can affect a child’s promising future and self-esteem which should never be destroyed in the first place by illegal firecrackers.

Aside from physical disabilities, the Health official warned that one of the most painful results of unsafe way of celebrating Christmas and New Year is death because there are cases that those who get wounded by firecrackers may get tetanus which if not managed early with anti-tetanus shot can lead to death.

She added that the church can help a lot by supporting what they suggest like using of other alternative noise and opting to watch community fireworks displays.

The church can also help in reminding parents to be responsible in ensuring that their children will not have access to or buy and even play firecrackers as a preventive way to prevent injuries.

She said that safe community fireworks display is better because the community can safely watch and enjoy beautiful fireworks while at the same time not affecting the income capacity of those engaging in its manufacture, distribution and sale.

Among the government agencies and other partners that the DOH has been uniting with in the campaign are the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Bureau of Customs (BOC), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), and Eco-Waste Coalition.

“Nagpapasalamat tayo sa DILG dahil naglabas kasi sila ng advisory na bawal magbenta ng paputok sa mga bata… Sa mga magbebenta, huhulihin po kayo pag nagbenta kayo sa minors,” she added.

Topping the culprit in firecracker-related injuries last year and even in the previous years was the illegal “piccolo” which is very cheap and usually bought in pieces from vendors.

Unfortunately, because of its cheapness, some people buy these in volumes and even give them as gifts.

“Sa ating mga adults — nanay, tatay, wag gawing pang-regalo ang paputok, lalo na ang piccolo, sa mga inaanak dahil iyan po ay pwedeng magbigay sa kanila ng panghabang-buhay na komplikasyon,” the DOH Chief reminded. (PNA)

SCS/LSJ/EBP

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