THE number of injuries from firecracker-related accidents was 53 percent lower this year than in 2015 but one drunk man died when he hugged the firecracker “Goodbye Philippines” before it exploded, Health Secretary Janette Garin said Friday.
In a press briefing, Garin said the 384 firecracker-related and stray bullet injuries covered the period of Dec. 21 when the DoH started its monitoring until 6 a.m. of Jan. 1. The Health Department’s monitoring of victims of New Year-related celebrations will end on Jan. 5.
Garin said this year’s figure was also 57 percent lower than the five-year average from 2010 to 2014. There were 814 injuries in last year’s New Year celebration.
Garin said the significant decrease in firecracker injuries was the result of the DoH information campaign, the help of media partners and the strict police operations against firecracker vendors.
She added that it also helped that some local government units organized their own fireworks displays.
Records showed that 380 of the recorded 384 cases were due to firecrackers and fireworks while four were caused by stray bullets.
The department’s figure for bullet-related injuries was far below the 28 incidents that the Philippine National Police reported late Friday afternoon, 15 of which occurred on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.
Six of the 28 incidents involved bullets hitting houses. No deaths were reported among the 17 people hit by stray bullets, the police said.
Garin said Piccolo and other illegal firecrackers caused 219 of the 380 cases. The other causes of injuries were Kwitis, 9 percent; 5-star, 4 percent; and Luces, 4 percent.
This year, there were no cases of firecracker injestion, Garin said.
However, she said no case of firecracker ingestion was reported. She said that last year, there were seven cases of firecracker ingestion.
Garin said the man who hugged a firecracker was in bad condition when he was taken to Ospital ng Sampaloc, but when he was transferred to Ospital ng Maynila, he was declared dead.
Of the 384 New Year-related injuries, 244 or 64 percent were under 14 years of age. Nine children required amputations, including a one-year-old boy from Nueva Ecija who lost three fingers to Kwitis.
A majority of the injuries or 243 of the 384 were in the National Capital Region (NCR), with 30 percent (73 cases) from Manila, 19 percent (46 cases) from Quezon City, 12 percent (28 cases) from Marikina City, 11 percent (27 cases) from Mandaluyong City and 7 percent (18 cases) from Valenzuela.
Garin reminded the injured to go to the nearest hospital for their anti-tetanus shots, even if the injury is just small.
She also called on parents to immediately clean their surroundings to ensure that nobody can pick up unexploded firecrackers.
She urged the authorities to investigate how illegal firecrackers were able to enter the country, noting that many of them were repackaged and labeled “Made in Bulacan.”
She specifically cited the need to stop the entry of Picolo, which caused many of the injuries.
Spokesman Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor said the first stray bullet-related injury was recorded on Dec. 16, when three-year-old Calsum B. Henio was hit on her right upper abdomen in Barangay Sirawai, Zamboanga del Norte.
Other victims were hit on their feet, backs, arms, buttocks, shoulders, and necks.
A stray bullet grazed the head of Sarpina Jadjong, 11, a student and resident of Barangay Mauboh, Patikul, Sulu, on Jan. 1. The police said she’s out of danger.
Mayor said the PNP has already eight recorded incidents of illegal discharge of firearms with seven persons arrested—five civilians, a soldier and a policeman. A security guard was also arrested for the same offense. Another one is still at large.
Mayor said a total of P1,094,378 firecrackers and pyrotechnics have been confiscated and destroyed. Most of these were Lolo Thunder, Atomic, Big Triangulo, Super Lolo, And Goodbye Philippines.
Also confiscated were Watusi, Piccolo, Mother Rockets, Pillbox, Boga, Big Judas, Big Bawang, Kwiton, and Kabasi.
The PNP recorded 96 cases of firecracker-related injuries.
On Friday, Bulacan police said a nine-year-old girl in Norzagaray died from an accidental firing, not a stray bullet on Dec. 25.
“Based on the report of Norzagaray Municipal Police Station, accidental firing not a stray bullet caused the death of the minor. The victim was hit by a .22 cal. gun owned by her brother Joel Cruz,” Bulacan provincial police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina said.
Cruz has been charged for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide.
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