Over 100 new firecracker injuries recorded

Mayen Jaymalin - The Philippine Star
Over 100 new firecracker injuries recorded

MANILA, Philippines — A day after the New Year’s Eve revelry, the Department of Health (DOH) has reported 124 new cases of fireworks-related injuries (FWRI), which increased the total to 288 since Dec. 21.

The DOH’s Epidemiology Bureau said the 288 cases, however, are still about eight percent lower than the 313 incidents recorded for the same period in 2018.

There were no fatalities and cases of stray bullet injuries reported so far. 

Malacañang yesterday described as “relatively successful” the health department’s campaign against the use of firecrackers, noting that while the number of people who were injured went down, many still opted to use firecrackers.?“It should be relatively successful given the fact that there has been a downtrend in injuries. Thirty-five percent, that’s huge. And there were no deaths. That’s significant. There is no death, unlike before,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said. ?Panelo, however, admitted that many “stubborn” Filipinos still used firecrackers despite the risk of accidents. ?“Many are still hardheaded,” Panelo said. “Maybe it can still be avoided. I don’t understand why there were injuries. Perhaps because of carelessness.”

Panelo said President Duterte is in favor of a law banning firecrackers, noting that he adopted such policy when he was still mayor of Davao City.

He said it was “probable” that the President would certify the passage of such measure as urgent. ?When informed that 60 percent of the injuries were caused by legal firecrackers, Panelo said: “If the President has his way, he would want a total ban but many are also urging him to just regulate (the use of firecrackers). Perhaps, we’ll leave it at that for now.” 

In 2017, Duterte signed Executive Order No. 28 limiting the use of firecrackers to community firework displays.?In the order, the President said regulation is needed because of the “substantial number of firecracker-related injuries, even casualties, recorded every year, some involving mere bystanders.” 

The DOH said they have not received any report of any victim of stray bullet nor firework ingestion and all the injuries sustained were caused by fireworks.

National Capital Region (NCR) accounted for half or 143 of the FWRIs recorded nationwide. Western Visayas followed with 29 cases and Ilocos region with 26 cases.

DOH said males composed 70 percent or 200 of the cases with age ranging from 11 months to 72 years old.

More than 200 of the FWRI patients were treated for blast or burn injuries not requiring amputation while 70 or 24 percent had eye injuries.

Ten of the total FWRI cases required amputation. 

In Pangasinan, provincial health officer Ana Ma. Teresa de Guzman said two cases of finger amputation of fireworks victims were reported in Dagupan City and Bolinao.

Based on DOH surveillance, 60 percent of the injuries were due to legal fireworks, with fountain as the second leading cause of injuries.

Fifty-nine percent or 170 of the patients were passive cases while 58 percent of the incidents occurred in the streets.  

For the seventh year, all 37 barangays in Cotabato City had no firecracker or gunshot injury during the Christmas season.

The Cotabato City police office said in a statement Thursday that no one was hurt in revelry-related activities from Dec. 24 to Jan. 1 based on records of local hospitals.

Cotabato City Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi led the campaign against the use of firecrackers and firearms during the Christmas and New Year’s Eve revelry.

Bocaue mayor backs ’cracker ban

Mayor Eleonore Villanueva-Tugna of Bocaue, Bulacan welcomed proposals of a lawmaker, an environmental group and the DOH to ban fireworks.

Bocaue is recognized as the fireworks-trading capital of the country and Tugna explained that any proposal for public safety is welcome.

“Safety is and shall always be a priority,” she said.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III made a proposal that prohibits unsupervised use of firecrackers and pyrotechnics in any place regardless of occasion and only allows them in designated areas with authorization from local government units.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has also urged legislators to totally ban the use of firecrackers.

Environmental watchdog EcoWaste Coalition called for a total ban on firecrackers and fireworks.– With Alexis Romero, Eva Visperas, John Unson, Gilbert Bayoran, Ramon Efren Lazaro




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