BAGUIO CITY – Concerned government agencies are now contemplating on granting appropriate incentives to local governments that achieve zero casualty during the celebration of the Yuletide revelries in the future to encourage local governments to be aggressive in the campaign to totally ban the use of firecrackers and pyrotechnic materials in their areas of jurisdiction.
Dra. Lakshmi Legaspi, regional director of the Cordillera office of the Department of Health (DOH-CAR), said the agency is looking into how to incorporate the criteria of judging local governments in their compliance to the realization of zero firecracker incidents and zero casualty in their areas of jurisdiction during the celebration of the Yuletide season to spare their constituents from being exposed to the hazards of exploding firecrackers.
She added the health department is giving out awards to top performing local governments in relation to the delivery of quality health services for the benefit of their constituents and health officials will try to look into which of the awards could contain the criteria on the zero firecracker incidents in their places.
However, the regional health official claimed that the award for zero casualty will be pilot tested in areas that are thickly populated like in urban centers to test the political will of the concerned local officials and the active participation of their constituents in the realization of the projected goal.
The DOH-CAR official claimed that despite the increase in the number of firecracker-related injuries this year to 25 from the 22 recorded during the previous monitoring period, the incidents this year seem not to be bloody because there was only 1 individual admitted in a health facility compared to the 2 previously while there were no amputations this year compared to one amputation the previous year.
On the other hand, Ferdinand Tomulto of the Cordillera office of Civil Defense (OCD-CAR) claimed the agency will look into how the criteria on zero casualty during the Yuletide revelry will form part of the guidelines for the coveted Gawad KALASAG award being given to top performing local governments in the field of disaster risk reduction and management because it is also related to the safety and protection of the people.
The OCD-CAR official underscored it is important for local governments in the region to enact ordinances imposing the desired total ban on the use of firecrackers and for the adoption of needed measures to prevent the entry of firecrackers illegally sold in their areas of jurisdiction to contribute in efforts of achieving zero firecracker-related casualty.
Both officials agreed that the matter will be discussed in the level of agency heads for the crafting of the necessary guidelines to be used to judge the compliance of local governments to the achievement of zero casualty in future celebration of the Yuletide season.
He explained the OCD-CAR will look into the existing firecracker ordinances of local governments this year to make sure measures banning the sale, use and disposal of firecrackers will be in place before the next yuletide celebrations.
By Dexter A. See