Health dept to continue pushing for signing of proposed EO on regulated use of firecrackers

Health Secretary Dr. PaulynUbial on Tuesday expressed optimism that President Rodrigo Duterte would very soon sign their proposed executive order on regulating the use of firecrackers or the firecrackers firing act.

"We are expecting that within this month, we can push for MalacaAang's issuance (of the EO), so we can avoid all the unnecessary injuries (from firecrackers)," Ubial said.

She explained that their determination to have the proposed EO signed stems from the fact that while the number of firecracker-related injuries from the recent celebration was lower compared to figures in the past 10 years, these injuries still resulted in disability, pain and misery.

She noted that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources strongly supports the signing of the proposed EO due to the negative impact of firecrackers on the environment.

President Duterte was supposed to sign the order last year but postponed it in consideration of those whose livelihood depends on the manufacture of firecrackers.

The EO would further reduce the number of injuries from firecrackers, Ubial said, noting that floating the idea of a presidential order on the ban on firecrackers has actually deterred people from lighting them, contributing to the drop in the number of injuries during the recent holidays.

"(Some people in the provinces) had the impression that somehow they would be caught and punished if they use fireworks or firecrackers," she said.

The health chief further said that the proposed EO would help the authorities monitor the indiscriminate firing of guns during the New Year revelry.

Without firecrackers, it would be easier to hear the shots from guns, she said, pointing out that many victims and their families have admitted that they were surprised to learn that they were injured by stray bullets.

As of 6 a.m. Tuesday, the health department has recorded a total of 581 fireworks-related injuries. The figure is lower by 323 or 36 percent compared to the same period last year. More than 50 percent of the injuries however involved children, the youngest of whom was barely one year old.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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