With the current ban on the use of firecrackers and fireworks, only authorized community fireworks display will be allowed in Metro Manila on New Year’s Eve as a safety precaution against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and other health risks.
According to Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) General Manager Jojo Garcia, house to house lighting of illegal fireworks and firecrackers is prohibited and violators face a fine or imprisonment depending on the ordinance passed by the local government unit.
Those who wish to get permits to hold community fireworks may apply with the Philippine National Police (PNP), Garcia added.
“Yung iba pong gustong mag-apply pa, sa PNP po sila mag aapply. Pero yung mga house to house fireworks, ‘yan po yung iniiwasan natin kasi nga napakadelikado nyan. Alam naman natin na during New Year’s Eve, maraming nahohospital dahil napuputukan (Those who want to get permits may apply with the PNP. But we avoid house to house fireworks because they pose danger. We know that during New Year’s Eve, many are being sent to hospitals due to firecracker injuries),” Garcia said Wednesday in a Laging Handa press briefing.
“Kausap ko po si Sec. (Eduardo) Año sa DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government), na pinapayagan lang yung mga community fireworks, meaning yung mga organized na malalaki. Like yung Pasay may na-approve dyan, sa Makati at sa Quezon City (DILG Sec. Ano told me that community fireworks are allowed, which means those that are organized like the ones in Pasay, Makati and Quezon cities which have already been granted permits),” Garcia said.
Selling “legitimate” fireworks or those that are not prohibited by the existing rules is allowed, but buying them is prohibited, Garcia added.
“Siguro pwede sila magbenta, ang problema di rin pwede magamit (Selling of fireworks may still be allowed, but the problem is they cannot use it),” Garcia said when asked if selling fireworks is prohibited.
According to Garcia, the Metro Manila Council passed on December 28 a resolution enjoining local government units in the National Capital Regional to strictly enforce a firecracker ban or pass a measure against its use. .
He said, the resolution was made in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19 through mass gathering and other health risks that firecrackers pose.
“Hindi na makakatulong na yung mga hospital natin ay magiging busy pa sa mga napuputukan (Our hospitals are already overwhelmed with patients and it will be too much if they still attend to firecracker victims),” Garcia stressed. He said authorities do not want to overwhelm hospitals amid COVID-19.
Citing previous advisory from the Department of Health, Garcia also discouraged the public from using “torotot” (party horns) during the revelry as it could spread the virus through saliva when it is shared.
Instead, Garcia said, the public can use cans and pots to make noise in welcoming the new year.