MANILA – The head of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) has ordered all five police district heads and chiefs in their areas to intensify the campaign against illegal firecrackers to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries in welcoming 2016.
Among the prohibited firecrackers are “bawang,” “Lolo Thunder,” and “Goodbye Philippines,” improvised PVC cannons known as “boga” and different types of imported fireworks from China.
The NCRPO is part of the joint monitoring center established by the Department of Health in its “Oplan Iwas Paputok” campaign to keep track of firecracker-related injuries and deaths and those caused by stray bullets or indiscriminate firing.
“We will lead in keeping our community safe, illegal discharge of firearms and indiscriminate firing are unacceptable. We will make sure to arrest violators. Our goal is zero casualty this Yuletide season,” said Chief Supt. Joel Pagdilao, NCRPO regional director.
Pagdilao added that NCRPO is strictly enforcing appropriate measures to prevent PNP personnel, including other gun holders, from illegally discharging their firearms during the Yuletide season.
He also discouraged the public from using illegal firecrackers and pyrotechnics to avoid untoward incidents.
He stressed that violators will be arrested and punished accordingly.
“Ako’y nananawagan sa ating mga kakabayan na patuloy na makipagtulungan sa mga kapulisan. Huwag labagin ang mga ipinagbabawal ng batas upang maayos at mapayapa nating ipagdiwang ang pasko at sa pagsalubong ng bagong taon,” he noted.
“Tinitiyak ng NCRPO na kayo ay aming babantayan 24/7 at siguradong ligtas laban sa kriminalidad at kapahamakan” Pagdilao added.
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority reminded community leaders of a policy for them to designate common fireworks display zones in their localities to prevent or lessen fireworks-related injuries this holiday.
Members of the Metro Manila Council, the MMDA’s policymaking body, passed a resolution noting that NCR posted the highest number of firecracker-related emergencies in previous years because of unsafe practice among revelers.
“It is the tradition of the Filipinos to use firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices during Christmas season and in welcoming the New Year. But due to unsafe practices, the Department of Health has recorded that for the past years, there has been an increase in number of firecracker-related emergencies causing injuries and death,” the one-page MMC resolution stated.
In 2014, the health department recorded most fireworks-related injuries from the National Capital Region (57%). Specifically, most cases came from Manila (180) and Quezon City (124). No cases were reported from the cities of San Juan and Muntinlupa.
Most of those injured were victims of firecrackers plapla, kwitis, Five Star and Piccolo.
MMDA chaiman Emerson Carlos said “freedom parks” and open spaces are common areas, designated as “fireworks display zones.”
Some cities in Metro Manila like Marikina, Quezon City and Caloocan have set up their own areas where residents can light up firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices.
Health officials said setting up a common fireworks display zone in every barangay in Metro Manila will provide a safer environment for celebrating the Christmas season, New Year, and other celebrations wherein proper guidance on the use of firecrackers can be provided.