DAGUPAN CITY, Pangasinan: The mayor here has urged residents not to use illegal firecrackers for their protection and instead encouraged them to use the bongbong kawayan or bamboo cannon and other alternative safe means to welcome the New Year.
Mayor Belen Fernandez issued the statement when she visited the bamboo cannon-making contest that Tebeng barangay (village) chairman Helen Fermil had been promoting.
Fernandez said this is a good example of how to celebrate New Year the safe way by using the ancient tradition of noise-making with bamboo cannons.
The village council gave prizes to the contest participants from the financial assistance that Fernandez provided.
“I was touched by this program, the barangay council’s initiative, and the cooperation of the residents here who promised me that they will not ignite any kind of firecracker during New Year’s Day so I came here to congratulate them in advance,” the mayor told The Manila Times.
Fermil said this is their first time to introduce the bamboo cannon in their village and assured the mayor that she and the village council will monitor villagers as they welcome the New Year.
The bamboo cannon is an alternative instrument that is safer and more economical to use as it only needs alcohol, gas and a match or lighter to produce that booming sound so appropriate for the New Year celebration.
Earlier, the Department of Health Regional Director and acting Assistant Secretary Myrna Cabotaje met with Fernandez, village officials and policemen to discuss the urgent issues concerning the use of illegal firecrackers.
Cabotaje urged the people of Pangasinan that instead of firecrackers, it is better to use torotot or hand-held horns, busina or car horns, loud music and other alternative means of making noise in welcoming 2017.
Meanwhile, the Provincial Health Office in Pangasinan warned that no free medical treatment will be provided victims of firecracker accidents in all public community hospitals unless the patients needs more than four days’ confinement.
“Any person who suffers from burns as a result of firecracker accidents will now have to pay for hospital treatment in government hospitals,” Dr. Ana de Guzman, PHO chief, said.
De Guzman explained that this drastic policy was adopted to further discourage people from lighting firecrackers during the holidays, particularly on New Year’s Eve.
She said potential victims of firecracker explosions, including those who claim to be indigent, will have to pay their own bills for treatment and confinement.
Only indigent cases requiring amputation and confinement for more than four days will be exempted since they can claim PhilHealth’s Point of Care Program, de Guzman added.
JAIME G. AQUINO