MANILA – Community fireworks displays would be allowed during the New Year celebration in the country, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said on Monday.

Bawal bumili pero manood pwede: Año says community fireworks displays allowed

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MANILA – Community fireworks displays would be allowed during the New Year celebration in the country, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said on Monday.

Año said this is in compliance with Executive Order 28 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2017 which strictly regulates the use of firecrackers and pyrotechnics.

“Ang pinapayagan lang natin yung community fireworks display. Meron lang designated na community fireworks display na inilaan ng local government units (LGU) at ito ay may permit sa FEO (Firearms and Explosives Office). Ito lang dapat, dito manonood yung mga tao, of course exercising pa rin social distancing (What we are allowing are only community display fireworks. The LGUs have designated community fireworks display and these have permits from the FEO. These are what the people can only watch, with proper social distancing of course),” Año said in a radio interview.

Año, meanwhile stressed that the use of firecrackers is prohibited in Metro Manila.

“Ano mang paputok dito ay bawal sa Metro Manila (Any kind of firecracker is not allowed in Metro Manila) and that is within the authority of the local chief executives. Otherwise, kailangan sumunod tayo hindi lang para sa kaligtasan hindi maputulan ng kamay o mamatay kung di maiwasan din yung mga (we need to comply not just for our safety, for our hands not to be amputated or to avoid death and of course, to prevent) mass gathering,” he added.

DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said the department has issued Memorandum Circular (MC) 2017-105 supplemented by MC 2017-168 to provide the implementing guidelines for EO No. 28. The Philippine National Police has likewise issued an advisory to remind the public of the implementation of the said order.

He said to reiterate, the sale and use of firecrackers which fall under any of the following are strictly prohibited anywhere in the country:

Overweight – with more than one-third teaspoon or more than 0.2 gram of net explosive ingredients;

Oversized – like atomic big triangulo, super lolo, giant whistle bomb, etc;

With short fuse – should not burn less than three seconds but not more than six seconds;

Imported finished products;

Mixture – sulphur and/or phosphorous mixed with chlorates;

Unlabeled locally made products.

Although some of the following firecrackers may be considered small, the following and similar ones are also strictly prohibited anywhere in the country for causing injuries to the public especially to children, namely:

Watusi
Piccolo
Poppop
Five Star
Pla-Pla
Lolo Thunder
Giant Bawang
Giant Whistle Bomb
Atomic Bomb
Atomic Triangle
Large-size Judas Belt
Goodbye Delima
Hello Columbia
Goodbye Napoles
Super Yolanda
Mother Rockets
Kwiton
Super Lolo
Goodbye Bading
Goodbye Philippines
Bin Laden
Coke-in-can
Pillbox
Boga
Kabasi
Other similar firecrackers

With regard to pyrotechnics, the Philippine National Police which is the primary agency that implements the said order, has announced in a joint advisory dated Dec. 16, that it will no longer process and issue special permits for community fireworks display in malls and other establishments.

“This is to discourage mass gatherings among the spectators as a measure against the transmission of Covid-19 this holiday season. Nonetheless, according to the PNP, they will respect the permits which were already granted prior to the issuance of the advisory,” Malaya said in a statement.

The sale and use of consumer pyrotechnics or commonly referred to as pailaw may still be allowed.

The PNP cited examples of allowable pailaw:

Butterfly
Fountain
Jumbo Regular and Special
Luces
Mabuhay
Roman Candle
Sparklers
Trompillo
Whistle Device
Other similar types of pailaw

“Please bear in mind, however, that EO No. 28 authorized local government units (LGUs) to promulgate the necessary rules and regulations on firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices within their territorial jurisdiction in conformity with national standards, rules, and regulations. Therefore, as authorized by their respective ordinances and issuances, LGUs may or may not issue special permits for the sale of consumer pyrotechnics or “pailaw” in their respective jurisdictions. LGUs may also prohibit community fireworks display outside of malls and other establishments to prevent crowds as a measure against Covid-19,” Malaya added. (PNA)

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Alert for arrival! Sinas: PNP ready to transport COVID-19 vaccines

The Philippine National Police (PNP) said all systems are in place to secure the speedy transport of the first batch of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines from China’s Sinovac Biotech that will arrive in the country on Feb. 28.

“PNP units are fully prepared to perform their assigned duties under the task organization of PNP Vaccination Plan ‘Caduceus’ which is the strategic plan that will operationalize all security and public safety operations for the vaccine roll-out in the coming weeks and months, following the arrival of the vaccine shipments from abroad,” said chief, Gen. Debold Sinas, in a statement on Saturday night.

He said the PNP Vaccination Plan ‘Caduceus’ sets forth the security and public safety guidelines and procedures to be undertaken by the police in support to the Philippine National Covid-19 Deployment and Vaccination Plan, as a member of the Task Group Vaccine Cold Chain and Logistics Management, Task Group Immunization Program, and Task Group Demand Generation and Communication.

“We have gone through a series of planning workshops and simulation exercises to ensure organized and orderly transport of the vaccine shipment to the storage facilities and distribution hubs on D-day when the vaccine rollout shall commence,” he said.

The PNP, he said, will be guided by the instructions of health authorities to administer the vaccine to police personnel who have been identified among the priority recipients such as those assigned to frontline medical and health care duties, as well as those who will be fielded to assist Department of Health personnel in administering the vaccine and other police front-liners.

“We are confident that our nation will pull through, bounce back and heal as one. God bless the Philippines,” he added.

On Sunday, President Rodrigo Duterte will lead the turnover ceremony for the arrival of 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines donated by the Chinese government.

Earlier on Saturday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced that 525,600 AstraZeneca vaccine doses from the COVAX Facility will arrive in the country on March 1. (PNA)

Kung ayaw ni Sara: Panelo floats Bong Go as Duterte’s successor

Senator Christopher Lawrence Go is also qualified to become President Rodrigo Duterte’s successor in 2022, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said Friday.

He made the statement three days after Duterte made a firm stance that his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara “Inday” Duterte, would not run for president in next year’s elections.

Panelo, who is one of those who initiated the clamor for Sara’s presidency, said Go also has the potential to lead the country.

“Meron na tayong dalawang pinagpipilian kung talagang ayaw ni Mayor Sara, kung hindi na magbago ang isipan niya (At least, we now have two options if Mayor Sara decides not to run and will no longer change her mind),” he said. “Kung hindi tatakbo si Mayor Sara, oh eh di pwede na rin si Senator Bong Go (If Mayor Sara does not run, we can have Senator Bong Go).”

During a situational briefing on the impact of Tropical Storm Auring in Tandag City on Tuesday, Surigao del Sur Governor Alexander Pimentel urged Duterte to convince either Sara or Go to join the 2022 presidential race.

The President, however, was opposed to Pimentel’s call to let his daughter succeed him when he steps down next year.

Panelo said Duterte, during the situational briefing in Tandag City, instead encouraged Go to pursue the presidential bid.

He said Duterte saw potential in Go who served as his long-time aide before getting elected as a senator.

“Mukhang sa pananaw niya, ito naman si Bong Go. Nakita ni Presidente, aba okay ‘to ah (For him, Bong Go should be given the chance. The President believes Go can do the job),” Panelo said.

He also floated the possibility of a Go-Duterte tandem in 2022.

“Kita niyo, Go-Duterte, hindi ba maganda (Go-Duterte is good, isn’t it?),” he said.

Continuing Duterte’s legacy

Panelo said there would be continuity of Duterte’s legacy, in case Go decides to join the 2022 presidential derby.

Like Duterte, he said, Go also shows compassion to Filipinos and exhibits courage.

Panelo, however, acknowledged that Go is not yet ready to take on the presidency.

“Sinasabi niya (Go), gusto ko lang serbisyo. Exactly, kung gusto mo serbisyo, eh ‘di tumakbo kang president, maging president ka. Eh ‘di continue ng service mo at the same time, continuity rin ng legacy ni Presidente (He said he just wants to serve the public. You should run for president and be the president if you want to continue serving the people. At the same time, there would be continuity of the President’s legacy),” he said.

Fight vs. corruption

As the country’s chief executive, Duterte vowed to curb illegal drugs, criminality, and corruption under his watch.

In a public address delivered on Wednesday, the President renewed his vow to fight corruption until the end of his term but admitted that it is impossible to have an “entirely clean” government.

Panelo said Duterte’s successor should have the same resolve to stop corruption in government.

“Corruption remains at talagang kahit pa ‘yung susunod kay Presidente, mahihirapan din (Corruption remains and the President’s successor would also have a difficult time dealing with it). But like the president, he can always, as he did, reduce and minimize corruption,” he said. (PNA)

Kanya-kanyang diskarte LGU! Palace: COVID-19 testing no longer required for travelers

Malacañang on Saturday announced that it is no longer mandatory for travelers to undergo coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) testing and quarantine.

“Travelers shall no longer be required to undergo Covid-19 testing, except if the local government unit (LGU) of destination will make testing as a requirement prior to travel. Testing will be limited to RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) test,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement.

However, travelers who exhibit symptoms upon arrival at their destination have to undergo quarantine, Roque said.

This developed after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) approved on Friday the uniform travel protocols for land, air, and sea that need to be observed by all LGUs, he said.

The approved protocols, Roque said, were crafted by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in close coordination with the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines, League of Provinces of the Philippines, League of Municipalities of the Philippines, and the League of Cities of the Philippines.

Despite the easing of restrictions for travelers, he said travelers should still follow minimum public health standards.

“Authorities shall continue to strictly implement the minimum public health standards, such as physical distancing, hand hygiene, cough etiquette, and the wearing of face masks and face shields across all settings,” Roque said.

He said the strict implementation of clinical and exposure assessment in all ports of entry and exit still needs to be observed.

The health assessment of passengers, supervised by medical doctors, will be mandatory upon entry into the port or terminal and exit at the point of destination, Roque said.

“On documentary requirements, the travel authority issued by the Joint Task Force Covid Shield and health certificates shall no longer be required,” he said.

However, authorized persons outside of residence (APORs) from national government agencies and their attached agencies must provide their identification card, travel order, and travel itinerary, Roque said.

“They must likewise pass symptom-screening at the ports of entry and exit,” he added.

One-stop shop application

Roque said the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) Safe, Swift, and Smart Passage (S-PaSS) Travel Management System will now be institutionalized as the “one-stop shop application or communication” for travelers.

“The StaySafe.ph System shall be utilized as the primary contact tracing system. Other existing contact tracing applications, such as Traze App, must be integrated with the StaySafe.ph System,” he said.

Roque said all ports and terminals must have sufficient isolation facilities.

All ports and terminals, he added, should also have a referral system so symptomatic travelers could be transferred to quarantine facilities, enabling the Bureau of Quarantine for airports or local health officials for LGUs to take over.

Roque said all buses in Metro Manila bound for the provinces are also required to use the Integrated Terminal Exchange as the central hub for transportation.

“At the option of the LGUs, they may provide transportation for all travelers who are transiting from one LGU to another in cases of arrivals at air and seaports to their end-point destinations,” he said.

Roque said the LGUs, DILG, DOST, the departments of health, tourism, and transportation, and the Philippine National Police should ensure the “smooth” implementation of the approved protocols. (PNA)

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