The Department of Health (DOH) reported a safer New Year celebration for Filipinos as there were only 85 fireworks-related injuries (FWRIs) on January 1, or 11 percent lower than the 2021 tally of 96.
The tally is likewise 75 percent lower than the average 336 FWRIs in the last five years.
“Ngunit ang mga bilang ng kaso ay maaaring tumaas sa mga susunod na araw dahil sa mga huling reports at consultations (But the number of cases may increase in the coming days due to late reports and consultations),” DOH Francisco Duque III said during a press briefing at the East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City.
The DOH data showed 36 percent of the injuries are at the National Capital Region (NCR), followed by Region 6 (Western Visayas) at 15 percent, and Region 1 (Ilocos Region) at 13 percent.
Sixty-four cases or 75 percent of the 85 total involved males aged 2 to 56 years.
Ten cases or 12 percent suffered blast or burn injuries requiring amputation, 52 or 61 percent had blast or burn injuries not requiring amputation, 25 or 29 percent had eye injuries, and other cases sustained multiple types of injuries.
There were no reports yet of fireworks ingestion, stray bullet injury or death.
“Karamihan ng mga nasugatan ay mga passing or bystanders lamang sa 58 percent. Nasa 38 percent ng mga kaso ay mula sa mga ipinagbabawal na paputok at nangunguna dito ang boga (bamboo cannon), kasunod ang Five Star at Piccolo (Most of the cases were passing or bystanders only at 58 percent. Cases due to illegal fireworks are at 38 percent and first on the list is boga, followed by Five Star and Piccolo),” Duque said.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) said four stray bullet cases in Ilocos Region, Calabarzon, Northern Mindanao, and Cordillera Administrative Region are undergoing verification and investigation.
“Certainly, those responsible for this act must face the teeth of the law. We constantly reminded the gun owners to be more discerning since these firearms should only be used for reasonable justification alone, and not a tool for noise making during the New Year,” PNP chief Gen. Dionardo B. Carlos said in a statement on Saturday.
He, however, said these are isolated cases since most parts of the country still experienced a relatively peaceful New Year celebration.
“Overall, the situation remains generally peaceful throughout the country with no major untoward incidents that marred the traditional festive Christmas and New Year revelry,” Carlos said.
Carlos also said no stray-bullet deaths were reported as of 6 a.m. Saturday.
He said the PNP Command Center in Camp Crame continues to consolidate field reports from Police Regional Offices nationwide.
PNP’s next step is to coordinate with the hospitals and DOH to synchronize the data on firecracker-related injuries as it recorded 88 fireworks-related injuries from Dec. 16-30, 2021.
The PNP is building-up cases against arrested gun holders involved in 17 incidents of illegal discharge of firearms.
Safer revelry due to regulations
Carlos said regulations on the use of firecrackers, with some local government units (LGUs) implementing a total ban, have greatly contributed to a safer revelry to welcome 2022.
He thanked the local chief executives for prioritizing the welfare of their constituents during this extraordinary time.
The crackdown on the illegal sale and use of firecrackers resulted in the arrest of 31 individuals with the confiscation of their products worth more than PHP1.5 million.
“Generally, 2022 was greeted with caution backed with the necessary information on how to avoid accidents at this important occasion,” Carlos said.
Although some residents couldn’t help but proceed with the traditional lighting of firecracker and pyrotechnic devices, these were done in accord with provisions of Executive Order No. 28 that regulate the use of these products.
Carlos also commended local PNP units backed by LGU force multipliers for the strict enforcement of local Executive Orders on firecracker prohibition that significantly resulted to lower firecracker-related injuries this year.
Backed by 80,188 force multipliers, the PNP fielded 32,179 police personnel for law enforcement and public safety operations during the holiday season. (PNA)