MANILA (Mabuhay) — Despite at least one death reported due to firecracker injuries, officials of the Department of Health (DOH) on Friday noted a “general reduction” in the number of victims due to fireworks and stray bullets amid the New Year revelry.
The casualty, who was not named during the DOH briefing, was a drunk man who hugged a firecracker called “Goodbye Philippines” after lighting it.
“(The) number of deaths will not be zero. Meron tayong isa. Ang unang sinabi sa amin, lasing ‘yung pasyente at sa kalasingan niya, sinindihan niya ‘yung Goodbye Philippines at niyakap niya ito,” said Health Secretary Janette Garin.
The victim was declared dead on arrival at the Ospital ng Maynila, where he was transferred from Ospital ng Sampaloc.
A total of 384 firework-related injuries were recorded by the DOH as of 6 a.m. Friday, DOH spokesperson Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy said.
Suy said the number of injuries reported was 57 percent lower than the five-year average, and 53 percent lower compared to 2014, which had 814 reported injuries.
Of the total number of injured victims, however, nine where children who each lost a hand.
Garin cited the DOH’s campaign against firecrackers and the efforts of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to apprehend those selling illegal firecrackers.
Out of the 384 cases, 380 were injuries from firecrackers, while the other four cases were stray bullet-related injuries.
Most of the firecracker-related injuries were reported at the National Capital Region (NCR), with 63 percent or 243 cases, followed by Bicol Region with eight percent, and Calabarzon Region with seven percent.
In NCR, most of the cases were in Manila with 73, followed by Quezon City, and Marikina City.
Majority of the victims were injured by illegal firecrackers, mostly by piccolo, the DOH noted.
“Sigurado sa darating na taon, what we really need is to deter the entry of piccolo. Dapat pigilan ‘yung pagpasok ng piccolo sa ating bansa kasi kung matanggal ‘yung piccolo, halos wala nang masasaktan,” Garin said.
Compared to previous years, there were no reported firecracker ingestion this year.
The DOH also reiterated anew its proposal for the total ban of firecrackers.
“This is again a call to our local government units, our partners, that we really have to ban firecrackers; and of course, sa Kongreso at sa Senado, uusad rin ang batas na ipinagbabawal natin ang lahat ng paputok,” said Garin.
Garin likewise reminded the public to clean their surroundings and make sure that children will not play with and pick up firecrackers on the streets.
“Nais naming pakiusapan lalo na ang mga bata na huwag mamulot ng paputok na nagkalat sa kalsada. Siguraduhin din na magpunta sa ospital kung ikaw ay naputukan,” she said. (MNS)