Secretary Ismael Sueno of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Friday urged the public to celebrate the Christmas and New Year holidays without firecrackers to prevent firecracker-related injuries and accidents.
“I believe there is no better way to celebrate this holiday season than to be in the company of our loved ones enjoying the happy, safe and peaceful comfort of our individual homes. Therefore, I enjoin everyone to try to welcome the festivity with utmost care by going back to our old way of making noise,” he said.
Sueno added that Christmas is not only a season of giving but also a time to rekindle the dwindling Filipino tradition and culture that has taken a back seat because of the evolution of technology.
He said noise can be produced from pots and pans, car horns, mobile phone ringtones and outdoor sound systems that will encourage community countdown while waiting for the clock to strike 12 midnight that will signal the coming of the New Year.
The DILG chief added that while the government still allows the use of some firecrackers, resorting to the customary way of greeting the New Year is danger-free and cost-efficient.
“Filipinos create noise to welcome the New Year and at the same time drive away the negativity. But we will not be able to do this if at the start of the year a member of the family will have to be rushed to the hospital for immediate medical attention due to a firecracker accident,” he said.
Sueno reminded sellers of pyrotechnics that display centers for such materials will only be allowed outside of malls and with proper safety protection to persons and property under existing rules and regulations.
He said all pyrotechnics that will be shown in the display center should be marked with a Philippine Standards Product certification issued by the Department of Trade and Industry.
Last year, the Department of Health recorded 932 cases of injuries nationwide from December 21, 2015 to January 5, 2016.
Of the 932 reported injuries last year, 920 or 98.7 percent were caused by fireworks, 10 or 1.1 percent by stray bullets and 2 or 0.2 percent by firecracker ingestion.