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President eyes ‘greater good’ in ‘crackers ban

Buoyed by the fewer firecracker-related injuries during the last New Year’s Eve revelry, Malacañang has assured that President Duterte will consider the “greater good” before deciding on the proposed firecracker ban in the country.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar mentioned the President’s position on a “total firecrackers ban” while lauding authorities for the generally peaceful celebration of the Christmas season.

“We congratulate the Department of Health for its very successful Iwas Paputok campaign and the Philippine National Police, together with the local executives, for a ‘generally peaceful’ celebration of Christmas and New Year,” Andanar said.

The Health department’s report on fewer New Year injuries came as the President has yet to sign the executive order on the firecrackers ban, according to Andanar.

“Although we are very much aware that the President is a strong advocate of the total firecrackers ban, there are industries and laborers also that would be affected by this move,” Andanar said.

“The President weighs/considers the welfare that would be for the greater good of all,” he said.

The Health department earlier reported around 350 injuries in the recent New Year’s Eve merrymaking, compared to 874 cases in 2015. The number of firecracker-related injuries was reportedly the lowest in the last decade.

Duterte earlier announced plans to impose a nationwide ban on firecrackers this year. The former mayor of Davao City wants to expand the firecracker ban he imposed in his hometown to the entire country to ensure the safety of the public.

The President said he hopes Congress would “act first” on a bill ensuring public safety from firecrackers, which have been traditionally used to welcome the New Year but often become a source of injuries.

If Congress is unable to take action, Duterte said he would try to implement the firecracker restrictions by issuing an executive order by April or May 2017. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)