Firecracker injuries down but teeners account for 56 percent of cases: health department
Firecracker-related injuries in the Philippines fell to a ten-year low as of January 1, authorities said in a briefing on Sunday.
But Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell Ubial said “although we are happy to report to the president and our countrymen that for the first time in 10 years, the firecracker injuries have decreased by 60 percent, we now have 350 only.”
“ It saddens us that the majority, or 56 percent are children below 15 years old. These are unnecessary,” said Ubial in a text message.
Ubial said from December 21 up to 6am Sunday the health department recorded a total of 350 firecracker-related injuries from 50 nationwide hospitals reporting to them.
"These are 520 cases or 60 percent lower than the five-year (2011-2015) average and 524 or 60 percent lower compared to the same time period last year," Ubial said in a briefing.
Of the total of 350 cases, 348 were due to firecracker injuries while two other cases were firecracker ingestion. Out of the 348 injured by firecrackers, 60 required amputation.
Ubial said majority of those injured were from illegal firecracker "Piccolo" with 132 victims or 38 percent out of the 348 who sustained firecracker injuries.
Ubial said a three-year old boy from Cabanatuan City who lost his right hand and arm after he picked up an unexploded firecracker on December 30.
Last year, the health department tallied firecracker-related injuries for 14 years and below, registering 244 cases, up 64 percent from the previous year.
Ubial said the opposition of President Rodrigo Duterte on firecrackers, as shown by a ban he implemented when he was mayor of Davao City, gave people “this impression that somehow they will get caught or they will be punished if they do fireworks and firecrackers.”
Parts of Metro Manila experienced rains a few hours before the New Year.
She said most fireworks-related injuries came from the National Capital Region (NCR) with 211 cases or 60 percent, followed by Western Visayas with 34 cases or 10 percent and Central Luzon having the lowest with only 29 cases or equivalent to eight.
"In NCR, most cases were from Manila with 81 out 211 cases or 38 percent, 48 cases or 23 percent were from Quezon City and 23 cases or 11 percent from Marikina," she noted.
She said four victims from stray bullets were recorded and it includes a 15-year- old girl who is still in coma at the Intensive care unit of Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center in Manila.
Ubial said according to the Philippine National Police (PNP) two other victims of stray bullets were in a hospital in Taguig, Pateros while another is at East Avenue Medical Center. Robina Asido/DMS