MANILA, Philippines-The government has reiterated its call for the public to heed its warnings against the use of firecrackers, particularly to children.

“Children should not be allowed to handle fireworks. We can prevent injuries. We urge parents and guardians to promote the use of alternative noisemakers, such as toy trumpets and sound systems,” said Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte Saturday on a government radio.

“As the new year approaches, we wish to remind the public once again to heed the warnings and advisories of the Department of Health,” added Valte, also in support to the statement earlier made by Health secretary  Enrique T. Ona.

According to Valte, the DOH has observed a significant reduction in the number of fireworks-related injuries compared to last year, this due to heightened public awareness and through municipal ordinances that promote safety during the holiday season.

“However, this still amounts to hundreds of recorded injuries, some of which involve children below ten years old.”

With the public’s help, the numbers can still be kept to a minimum, Valte added.

“ Through vigilance and responsible celebration, we can greet 2014 with a literal, as well as symbolic good start.”

As of Saturday, number of firecracker-related incidents has reached 170, about 8 percent higher compared in 2012.

DOH also reported that at least five were hit by stray bullets.

Philippine National Police has raised its alert level for the incoming New year’s eve , at the same time ordered its personnel nationwide not to fire their service firearms when celebrating the occasion.