WITH the New Year celebration nearing, the Cebu Police Provincial Office (CPPO) has warned its 1,800 police officers that they will be removed from the service if they indiscriminately fire their guns.
Police Colonel Roderick Mariano, CPPO director, said he had ordered his station commanders to make sure that none of their personnel would use his firearms as substitute for firecrackers in this New Year’s celebration.
“Based on the directives from our higher headquarters, it is prohibited to do indiscriminate firing or to use our firearms as substitute for firecrackers during celebrations like this New Year,” he said in Tagalog.
He said the CPPO would not be taping the nozzles of the firearms of its policemen during the celebration, as these might be needed when responding to emergencies.
“And we also believe that our policemen in the CPPO are disciplined. They know what’s right or wrong,” he said.
He said they, in the CPPO, had made a covenant that whoever would be reported or caught firing their firearms outside the call of duty would be investigated and, worse, dismissed.
“Aside from the directives, we reinforced it by making a covenant among ourselves that once a policeman is caught indiscriminately firing his firearm, and someone reported it, we will immediately conduct an investigation and hasten it so that he will immediately be dismissed,” he said.
To further ensure a safe celebration, Mariano said they have started their “Oplan Pag-ikot” wherein police officers, with the local government officials and barangay officials, conduct patrols in their respective areas.
He said they hope for zero victims of firecrackers and indiscriminate firing during the celebration.
Last Monday, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said that based on data provided by the Philippine National Police (PNP), firecracker-related incidents nationwide have been declining.
In January 2019, there were only 307 firecracker-related incidents nationwide, compared to 449 incidents in 2018, 652 in 2017 and 929 incidents in 2016.
In a statement, DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said this was due in part to the PNP and the Bureau of Fire Protection, in accordance with Executive Order 28, inspecting fireworks firms and retailers to ensure that illegal firecrackers were “completely taken off the market.”
Malaya said the decrease in firework-related injuries in the last three years shows that Filipinos can still celebrate the holidays without compromising tradition.
He said a growing number of Filipino families are now using “pailaw” and other noise-making alternatives such as blowing horns or torotot to welcome the new year, skipping the use of firecrackers altogether. (with CTL)