MANILA –The Department of Health (DOH) said on Friday that the number of firecracker-related injuries during the New Year’s Eve revelry in the country reached an all-time low.
As of 6 a.m. of New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, 2016, the agency’s sentinel sites recorded a total of 384 firecracker-related injuries.
“This is 506 cases (57 percent) lower than the five-year (2010-2014) average and 430 (53 percent) lower compared to the same time period last year. Of the total 384 cases, 380 were from fireworks/firecrackers, four from stray bullets, and there was no case of fireworks/firecrackers ingestion,” DOH Secretary Janette L. Garin announced in a press briefing held at the DOH’s main office in Tayuman, Sta. Cruz, Manila,
A total of 219 out of 380 injuries were caused by piccolo, an illegal firecracker.
Noting that almost 58 percent of the injured victims were children, the DOH Chief said it is important to be more aggressive in the coming year to further deter the public from using the said prohibited firecracker in merrymaking activities during the holidays.
“The elimination of piccolo will be a big help in reducing the number of firecracker-related injuries,” she stressed.
Aside from piccolo, other firecrackers that caused injuries include 5 Star (4 percent), kwitis (9 percent), luces (4 percent), and other unknown firecrackers (5 percent).
Most fireworks-related injuries came from the National Capital Region (NCR) with 243 cases (63 percent), followed by Region 5 (Bicol) with 31 cases (8 percent), and Region 4-A (Calabarzon) with 27 cases (7 percent).
In NCR, most cases were reported from Manila with 73 out of 243 cases (30 percent), 46 cases (19 percent) were from Quezon City and 28 (12 percent) cases from Marikina City.
In Nueva Vizcaya, an eight-year-old boy lost his three fingers after using kwitis.
As of this writing, a 34-year-old male patient was rushed on New Year’s eve at Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center (JRMMC) after stepping on an ignited ‘Goodbye Philippines’ firecracker.
The man, who was drunk, was brought to the hospital after his right foot was heavily wrecked by the strong blast of the firecracker.
According to Dr. Felipa Acebedo, officer of the day of JRRMMC, the victim’s foot was scheduled for amputation in the surgical department of the hospital.
Meanwhile, a man under the influence of liquor died after embracing a Goodbye Philippines firecracker.
Ronald Vericio, 45, was first rushed to the Ospital ng Sampaloc, but was transferred to the Ospital ng Maynila where he was declared dead on arrival.
Meanwhile, Secretary Garin noted that the record low number of firecracker-related injuries can be attributed to the efforts of other agencies and organizations such as the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the cooperation of some Local Government Units (LGUs) which organized public fireworks displays for the New Year revelry.
Garin also happily announced that for the first time, no cases of firecracker ingestion had been recorded.
“We would like to extend our gratitude for the support of other national agencies, the local government units, non-governmental organizations, and the media during the anti-firecracker campaigns. Every year, we see the things that we need to strengthen in order to achieve our goal, and eventually, we do hope that we will attain zero casualties from fireworks/firecrackers during the holidays,” the DOH Chief said.
However, Garin reminded the public to remain alert for other possible injuries that may happen due to the presence of some firecrackers around communities.
“We are calling on the public, especially the children, not to pick up scattered firecrackers in the streets. Also, all firecracker-related injuries, whether mild or severe, should be treated at hospitals. Wounds caused by firecrackers can lead to tetanus which is really fatal,” Garin explained.
She also said that updating of the results of surveillance is ongoing as the agency’s Epidemiology Bureau continues to receive reports.
She also noted that figures will continue to change after other reports are submitted towards the end of the surveillance/monitoring that started since Dec. 21, 2015 and will last until Jan. 5, 2016.