Watchdog Urges Government to Declare War against Piccolo Smugglers, Distributors and Vendors, Pushes Total Ban on Firecrackers

Lower photo by Kevin de la Cruz, Manila Bulletin
EcoWaste Coalition, a civil society partner of the Department of Health
(DOH) in its yearly “Iwas Paputok” campaign, urged the government to
declare an all-out war against the banned piccolo firecracker, the top
cause of firecracker-related injuries in the country.
zeroing in on piccolo, the group also expressed support for a national
ban on all firecrackers to curb the senseless injuries and sufferings
inflicted on firecracker igniters as well as spectators.
all-out war against smugglers, distributors and sellers of piccolo will
stop this small but terrible monster in further harming more child
victims,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition, which had
earlier tagged piccolo as “children’s enemy number one” during the
festive season.
“We urge
the government to declare such crackdown now, not wait until December
2016, and assign the Bureau of Customs to accomplish this task before
the next Christmas season,” she emphasized.
“As what
is at stake is the health and safety of young children, we urge the
government to provide for a reward system that will lead to the
identification and apprehension of culprits involved in the illegal
trade of piccolo and other banned firecrackers,” she emphasized.
As of
January 1, the DOH had documented a total of 380 cases of firecracker-related
injuries, out of which 219 were piccolo victims.
Data from
the DOH also showed that 32 percent of the 840 firecracker-related
injuries in 2014, 36 percent of the 997 firecracker-related injuries in
2013 and 26 percent of the 931 firecracker-related injuries in 2012 were
due to piccolo.
prevent and reduce injuries, as well as the generation of hazardous fumes
and wastes, the EcoWaste Coalition also called for a total ban on
firecrackers as expressed by officials of the DOH,  Department of Environment
and Natural Resources, Philippine National Police and the Bureau of Fire
“We urge
our lawmakers to enact a total ban on firecrackers to stop this
out-of-date practice of ushering in the New Year with bloodied hands,
smoggy atmosphere and garbage-strewn surroundings,”  Lucero added.
“In the
name of safer revelry, cleaner air and waste-free environment, we ask
our lawmakers to act now and end this mindless violence against humans,
animals and Mother Earth,” she concluded.
The total
ban on firecrackers will be in favor of the constitutionally-protected
rights of the people to health and to a balanced and healthful ecology
that the country’s major environmental laws such as the Clean Air Act,
Clean Water Act and the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act seek to
uphold, the group said.
that it might take a longer time to enact a national law, the EcoWaste
Coalition turned to local government officials to pass strong city or
municipal ordinances banning firecrackers.