Health official proposes law on total fireworks ban

Health Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag is urging Congress to craft a measure that would allow local governments to totally ban commercial use of fireworks. Existing laws don't cover total ban, but Tayag said the Department of Health could provide information to strengthen its case against fireworks which have caused thousands of accidents nationwide, especially during the celebration of New Year. “This is for our legislators to consider, the Department of Health will give them evidence (to determine) whether or not it’s time to completely ban (fireworks). We are open to suggestions,” Tayag said in a TV interview. The DOH has released an official list of legal firecrackers, yet a lot of people continue to buy the prohibited and highly dangerous kind such as “Super Yolanda” and “Goodbye Napoles” that were declared illegal by the Philippine National Police as they contain explosives more than the prescribed limit of .2 gram or 1/3 of a teaspoon. As of December 27, the number of fireworks-related victims has reached 140, with one incident of firework ingestion and five victims of stray bullets. This early, DOH already recorded cases of amputation due to fireworks injuries, including a 14-year-old boy from Cebu City who lost his right hand from a Super Yolanda firecracker and a five-year-old boy from Iloilo lost his right hand's index finger due to camara or small dynamite. Tayag said they will intensify their campaign to persuade the public not to use firecrackers the way Davao City has banned it thereby recording very few, if not zero fireworks-related injuries during New Year celebrations.

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