DOH urges ban on ‘piccolo’ firecracker
THE DEPARTMENT of Health (DOH) on Monday urged the police and local government units to strictly enforce the law against the sale of the “piccolo” during the holidays to significantly bring down the number of firecracker-related injuries.
Health Secretary Janette Garin led the kick-off of the DOH’s annual “Iwas Paputok” campaign in collaboration with the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Education, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection and Bureau of Customs.
For this year’s campaign, Garin said local chief executives should be extra vigilant against the piccolo, which has been the top cause of firecracker-related injuries.
“If we take away the piccolo [from the market], the decrease in the number of firecracker-related injuries will be significant,” Garin told reporters in a press conference Monday.
Last year, the DOH recorded a total of 860 injuries nationwide, of which 32 percent were caused by the piccolo, a small and cheap but powerful firecracker.
The piccolo is one of the illegal firecrackers banned by the government but which is still being sold in the market, targeting mostly children because of its attractive packaging.
Lt. Angelito Cruz, assistant chief of the environmental protection unit of the Bureau of Customs, said this type of firecracker was being smuggled into the country from China and repacked in the Philippines.
“Our anti-illegal importation campaign continues but these guys, sadly, are smarter than law enforcement. They can find ways to smuggle [contraband],” Cruz told reporters on the sidelines of the launch of the campaign.
The EcoWaste Coalition, a partner of the DOH in its anti-firecracker campaign, urged the government to completely ban the use of firecrackers by minors nationwide.
“As all firecrackers are dangerous for kids to handle, we find it very logical and necessary for the national authorities to impose a strong measure that will prohibit all minors from buying, receiving and using all forms of firecrackers,” said EcoWaste Coalition coordinator Aileen Lucero. With a report from Dona Z. Pazzibugan
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