In rural areas community fireworks display may not be practical

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ILOILO – President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order (EO) 28 which confines the use of firecrackers to community fireworks display may not be practical in rural areas, according to the president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) – Iloilo Chapter, Mayor Jett Rojas of Ajuy town.

The EO was issued on June 20, 2017.

According to Rojas, in rural areas residences were far from barangay centers or town centers where, under the EO, safe community fireworks displays may be held during Christmas, New Year, fiesta and other celebrations.

The EO may only be practical in urban centers that are usually thickly populated and thus the individual use of firecrackers may be hazardous, according to Rojas.

The mayor said he may convey this sentiment to LMP national officials when they meet this month.

In rural barangays that are sparsely populated and where residences are usually far apart, according to Rojas, many people hold on to the belief that blasting firecrackers drive away evil spirits.

“For safety pareho sa Metro Manila, to avoid fire, community fireworks display gid na dapat. Pero sa isip ko, ngaa gin-nationwide? Kay ang balay sa uma lapta kag lagyo mo. Ambot kon ano ang panan-awan sang iba,” said Rojas.

According to the EO, a community fireworks display must be “conducted under the supervision of a trained person duly licensed by the Philippine National Police.”

It should also be “allowed by the municipality / city concerned through a permit specifying the date and time of fireworks display and the specific area in which the display will be conducted, in conformity with national standards, rules and regulations.”

In issuing the EO in 2017, the President said there continued to be a substantial number of firecracker related injuries, even casualties, recorded every year, some involving bystanders.

But just this Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019 the President announced he was looking to issue a new EO that will totally ban firecrackers in the country.
“I will issue an executive order this early na I’m banning firecrackers altogether,” Duterte said in a speech in Bulacan. “I will ban firecrackers. Wala na. Bakit ako papayag na noon 700 dead…Maski sang bata lang mawalaan ng kamay, as President why would I allow it?”

Between Dec. 21, 2018 and Jan. 4, 2019 305 people sustained burn and eye injuries from the use of firecrackers nationwide, while two others ingested gunpowder from fireworks, the Department of Health said.

The number was 40 percent lower compared to the same reporting period in 2018./PN

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