The Department of Health (DOH) today lauded the signing last Tuesday of Executive Order (EO) No. 28, also known as “Providing For The Regulation and Control of the Use of Firecrackers And Other Pyrotechnic Devices,” by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

EO 28 bans individuals from using firecrackers or setting up their own fireworks displays, a cultural tradition Filipinos are accustomed to during “events of personal, religious, cultural and national importance,” especially during New Year’s Eve or even Chinese New Year.

“There continues to be a substantial number of firecracker related injuries, even casualties, recorded every year, some involving bystanders,” according to the EO.

Regulating the use of firecrackers among individuals and confining its use to community displays has long been an advocacy by the DOH owing to the number of injuries among users and bystanders alike and the rise in air pollution it causes in the aftermath of said annual events.

The EO sets forth the criteria that must be complied with before a display of fireworks can qualify, such as: it must be conducted on the occasion or as part of a celebration, competition, or similar event held in a venue other than the residence; it is conducted under the supervision of PNP-licensed and trained personnel; and, it has a municipal/city permit that states the date, time and area where the display will be conducted.

The formulation of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of this law shall be spearheaded by the Philippine National Police (PNP) in coordination with the DOH, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), after public consultations. The EO provides that “such rules and regulations shall form an integral part of the IRR of a previously enacted law banning firecrackers.”

A total of 630 fireworks-related injuries was reported in New Year’s Eve celebration welcoming 2017. This was 303 cases (32%) lower than the five-year (2011-2015) average and this was 292 cases (32%) lower than the same period last year. No death was reported.

“The DOH welcomes this EO that strengthens the previous law banning the sale and manufacturing of firecrackers. Last year, we were able to significantly bring down the number of injuries, and no death was reported in the hospitals. Now with this new law, we are anticipating an even much lower incidence of firecracker-related injuries, and we hope to maintain the zero-casualty, specifically during New Year revelries,” Department of Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial remarked.

Owing to the urgency of this measure, this Executive Order takes effect immediately.