By Leonel Abasola

SAFE ZONE. Fireworks stalls occupy a portion of Rizal Boulevard near Pantawan 1 in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental on Saturday (Dec. 30, 2023). The local government prohibits selling in other areas. (PNA photo by Judy Flores Partlow)

MANILA – Gun owners, especially military and police personnel, must act responsibly in welcoming the New Year by not firing their guns indiscriminately.

In a press release Saturday, Senator Nancy Binay said safety must be at the forefront of the New Year’s Eve celebration and called on Filipinos to employ more creative ways to usher in the coming year instead of firing guns, fireworks and firecrackers.

“Alalahanin po natin na may karampatang responsibilidad ang pagbitbit natin ng baril. Huwag sana basta-basta gamitin ang mga ito upang maiwasan ang mga casualty lalo pa sa panahon na dapat nagdiriwang ang lahat (Let’s remember that carrying guns carries certain responsibility. Please don’t use them casually to avoid casualties, especially at a time when everyone should be celebrating),” she said.

Reports from the Philippine National Police (PNP) showed that at least seven incidents of illegal discharge of firearms have been reported, with one wounded, since Dec. 16.

Five of the seven offenders — two police officers, two members of the Philippine Army, and a civilian — have so far been arrested and their guns confiscated. Two others remain unidentified.

The PNP announced earlier this month that it has again skipped sealing the muzzles of service firearms this year, as police officers have been compliant with the directive against indiscriminate firing, adding that gun sealing also makes responding to crimes difficult.

She also urged authorities to strictly monitor vendors selling illegal firecrackers.

She asked the PNP and local government units to strictly enforce Republic Act 7183 which regulates the sale, manufacture, distribution, and use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices. (PNA)