Firecracker injuries rise to 145

(The Philippine Star) - December 30, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - A day before New Year’s Eve, 17 more people were injured by firecrackers, the Department of Health (DOH) reported yesterday.

Based on a report of the DOH’s Epidemiology Bureau, the 17 brought to 145 the total number of firecracker-related injuries since Dec. 21.

Three victims of indiscriminate firing have also been reported. One of them is a nine-year-old girl who died after being hit by a stray bullet in the back on Christmas Eve in Bulacan. (See related story on Page 8.)

DOH records showed that of the 145 firecracker victims, 110 suffered injuries in the hands, while head and eye injuries were reported in 14 cases. Two of the victims had to undergo amputation.

Health Secretary Janette Garin warned that injuries from firecrackers, if not immediately treated, could be fatal.

“Tetanus can kill and this can be acquired from wounds and burns caused by firecrackers and fireworks. As much as possible, don’t let the children use firecrackers,” she said.

The DOH said the banned piccolo is still the leading cause of injuries with 107 cases. It is followed by five-star with eight; unknown firecrackers accounted for seven cases while kwitis and sparklers each had three cases.

Metro Manila registered the most number of firecracker injuries at 67, with Manila having 22 cases, followed by Quezon City with 16, Mandaluyong with nine, Las Piñas with five and Parañaque with four reported cases of injuries.

The police, on the other hand, intensified their crackdown on illegal firecrackers, seizing over P.78 million worth as part of the effort to ensure accident-free New Year revelry.

In the monitoring of the Philippine National Police (PNP) under its Ligtas Paskuhan 2015, some 780,000 illegal firecrackers have been confiscated nationwide.

Among the illegal firecrackers seized were lolo thunder/atomic/big triangulo, super lolo, goodbye Philippines, watusi, piccolo, mother rockets, pillbox, boga, big judas belt, big bawang, kwiton and kabasi.

Most of the banned firecrackers were seized from several outlets in Binondo, Manila.

Firecracker manufacturers are apparently riding on the controversy in the Miss Universe pageant by naming a firecracker “Hello Colombia,” which was added to the growing list of banned pyrotechnics.

During an inspection of stalls in Bocaue, Bulacan, police seized several Hello Colombia, which is bigger than the average firecracker and packed with more gunpowder.

“Hello Colombia firecrackers are prohibited by law. They contain more gunpowder than is allowed. Personnel of police and local government units also seized goodbye bading and goodbye Philippines,” Supt. Genelle Galmatico said.

Banned firecrackers are those that contain a net explosive content of more than 0.2 grams or approximately 1/3 teaspoon under Republic Act 7183, the law that regulates the manufacture, sale, distribution and use of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices.

Central Luzon police director Chief Supt. Rudy Lacatin said police commanders are tasked to monitor the sales of illegal firecrackers in the region, particularly in Bulacan.

In Nueva Vizcaya, police teams inspected 19 firecracker stalls in the area and seized 15 boxes and 102 pieces of five star from the stall in Solano town. – Cecille Suerte Felipe, Ramon Efren Lazaro, Non Alquitran, Ric Sapnu, Artemio Dumlao, Ghio Ong

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