The Center for Health and Development (CHD) of the Department of Health (DOH) has started its “Iwas Paputok” campaign for the New Year, targeting to achieve “zero-firecracker injuries” in the whole MIMAROPA region.

In a press statement sent Tuesday, the DOH CHD-MIMAROPA officer-in-charge regional director Dr. Mario Baquilod, said their aim is under the theme “Oplan: Iwas Paputok, Fireworks Display ang Patok! Makiisa sa Fireworks Display sa inyong Lugar”, which is covered by Executive Order (EO) No. 28 or the Regulation and Control of the Use of Firecrackers and other Pyrotechnic Devices.

He said under the EO, they wish to remind residents and local government officials in MIMAROPA that the use of firecrackers and fireworks should only be confined in community-designated areas under the supervision of individuals who had been trained by the Philippine National Police (PNP).

“Through the Iwas Paputok Campaign, backed up by legislated policies, we are aiming for lesser to zero firecracker-related injuries and casualties in the region,” Baquilod said.

In MIMAROPA, he said in the statement that 25 cases of fireworks and firecracker-related injuries were reported on December 25, 2018-January 1, 2019.

This marked a 19.05 percent increase for the 21 cases recorded on December 22, 2017-January 2, 2018.

Kwitis (32 percent), five star (16 percent), and piccolo (12 percent) were the top firecrackers that caused the injuries. No deaths were reported.

In order to address this public health and safety concern, the DOH CHD-MIMAROPA, in cooperation with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), and various local health units, will again intensify the campaign again in the region.

Last year, the DOH CHD MIMAROPA piloted the Iwas Paputok drive in Puerto Princesa City. This year, it said the campaign will be done at Divine Word College of Calapan in Oriental Mindoro with interactive sessions for school children aged 15 and below

Baquilod encouraged the public to join the community fireworks displays in their respective barangays to avoid casualties and injuries. He also pushed for the use of alternative noisemakers, such as blowing of torotot (horns/trumpets) and playing loud music, to welcome the New Year.

“We can celebrate the coming holidays without risking our lives and limbs. We are urging everyone, including our partner agencies and the local government units to take part in our campaign of celebrating the upcoming holidays safely and peacefully,” Baquilod said.

He further advised the public to seek immediate medical treatment in case the need arises.

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