DOH effective in “Iwas-Paputok” campaign in Catbalogan?
CATBALOGAN, Samar -- “There was zero-firecracker injuries recorded last Dec. 24-26 in this locality.”
Thus said PNP chief Police Supt. Joseph N. Pensotes when asked about the figures on possible victims of prohibited firecrackers under his jurisdiction.
The police chief said that as part of their monitoring of said “iwas-paputok” campaign, they also checked the hospitals and clinics in Catbalogan and was confirmed “negative” by the interviewed doctors and nurses. “It seems that the campaign of the DOH, and of course, our campaign is effective, at sana magtuloy-tuloy na ito hanggang New Year” Supt. Pensotes said.
To recall, the Department of Health (DOH) in Samar province has intensified its ‘Kampanya Kontra Paputok’ to include a massive promotion and awareness drive on the dangers of firecrackers and the prevention of firecracker-related injuries during the holidays.
The populace in Samar, particularly in the capital town of Catbalogan has been advised by the DOH to use “torotot” and empty cans to celebrate Christmas and in welcoming the year 2011.
To further maintain the record, the DOH Samar Provincial Health Office and the Rural health Unit of Catbalogan on Tuesday (Dec. 28) held a motorcade around the main streets of Catbalogan addressing the public not to use the illegal firecracker ‘piccolo’ and other prohibited and unregulated firecrackers.
Dr. Antonio Tirazona of the DOH-Samar informed that the health department imposed a “code white” for all hospitals in the country in preparation for the possible victims of firecrackers related injuries.
Meanwhile, Health Secretary Enrique Ona said the DOH has so far recorded 173 firecracker-related injuries since the agency started with its “Oplan Iwas Paputok” campaign on December 21. “And it might reach 1, 000 during the New Year’s revelry,” Sec. Ona said in last Tuesday’s press statement.
He said 83 people or almost half of the victims (48 percent) were injured by “piccolo” firecracker. Fifteen people were hurt by a “kwitis,” 15 by a “whistle bomb,” 15 by “boga,” and seven by a “trianggulo.” Of the victims, six were hit by stray bullets while five ingested “watusi.” One was declared dead.
Ona said this year’s figures are lower than the ones in the same period last year. However, the Health secretary stressed that injuries were still highest among children (43 percent), particularly 15 years old or younger.
As early as November, the health department has released the list of illegal banned firecrackers which include Piccolo, Pla-pla, 5-star, Atomic Bomb, Triangulo, Super Lolo, Boga and Watusi.
As per Memorandum of the Firearms and Explosives Division-Philippine National Police (FED-PNP), dated 17 January 2002, Watusi is already banned from the market and no longer authorized the sale of the said firecracker.
The said campaign, directed by Center for Health Development (CHD) Directors and Chiefs of DOH Hospitals, calls for close cooperation among local radios, TV networks and local government units in the region.
Likewise, the DOH has ordered all CHDs to take the lead in implementing the public information campaign in their respective regions or catchments area for ‘Kampanya Kontra Paputok’ activities, which include information dissemination on the dangers of using prohibited firecrackers.
To discourage more the public to use firecrackers, streamers and posters of injured victims are posted in strategic and public places.
In other related development, Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona recently showed ‘Kampanya Kontra Paputok’ tarpaulin to the public.
He said the materials aim to reduce incidence of fireworks-related injuries to children as DOH data revealed that most injuries due to fireworks are found in children aged below 10 years old, thus leads to this year’s slogan “Walang Batang Magpapaputok”.
“The DOH data clearly indicates that children are most prone and vulnerable to fireworks-related injuries,” Ona said.
The DOH, though, will not take away the fun of celebrating the holidays by releasing the list of allowed firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices and suggesting local government units to designate common fireworks display area, where the community can gather and awe at fireworks display handled by professionals. (Ricky Bautista)