Low firecracker injuries attributed to EO 28, ‘Usman’

Published January 2, 2019, 12:05 AM

by Francine Ciasico

By Analou De Vera and Aaron Recuenco

Hospital emergency rooms were not as busy as the previous years as the Department of Health (DOH) only re­corded 139 firecracker-related injuries nationwide, which is 80 percent lower than the five-year average.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III (AP Photo/Aaron Favila / MANILA BULLETIN)
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III (AP Photo/Aaron Favila / MANILA BULLETIN)

“I am very glad to report to you that today, we have a 68 percent decline in the number of fireworks-related incidents from December 21, 2018 to January 1, 2019 and that is as of 6 a.m. compared to the 428 during the same period last year,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III during a press conference at the East Avenue Medical Center yesterday.

The 139 cases were recorded from December 21, 2018 to January 1, 2019. The health chief was comparing it to the 428 cases that were recorded from Dec. 21, 2017 to January 5, 2018.

In January 1 last year, the DOH recorded 191 fireworks-related inju­ries.

Of the 139 cases, two were cases of fireworks ingestion. No stray bullet injury and deaths were reported.

“I believe this is a historic, biggest reduction in the number of firecracker injuries,” said Duque.

“I would like to underscore the fact that not only do we have a much lower incidence, a decline of 68 percent, and we even added 10 hospitals as sentinel sites from 50 to 60,” he said.

‘Kwitis’

The National Capital Region (NCR) had the most number of injuries with 53, followed by Western Visayas with 26, Central Visayas with 13, and 10 cases each from Central Luzon and Calabarzon.

Most of the injuries were caused by Kwitis with 30 cases; Boga, 16 cases; Piccolo,15 ; Luces, eight; and Five-star and Triangle with seven cases each.

Duque said most injuries were suffered during revelry in the streets (73 cases), at home (59 cases), five in “other areas,” while two happened in designated fireworks display areas in Manila and Batangas.

“It was definitely a setback because we have been encouraging people to go to fireworks display areas to be safe, then these happened,” he said.
“See how treacherous fireworks and pyrotechnic devices can be… because ito na nga fireworks display area meron para rin sumasabog,” he added.

EO 28

Duque attributed the decrease in fireworks-related incidents to Execu­tive Order No. 28 signed by President Duterte in 2017 which prohibits resi­dential and personal use of fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices and instead shift to community fireworks display.

The heavy rains brought by tropi­cal depression ‘Usman’ likewise damp­ened the festivities.

“Nature this time took the side of DOH, which means that it has been raining for the past several days and unrelentingly, and I think this also contributed to the substantive reduc­tion in the fireworks related injuries,” he said.

But the figures are expected to increase as reports from other region start to trickle in.

“Most additional injuries during this time may arise from children picking up unexploded fireworks in the streets,” he said.

“Our reminder to the parents is to make sure that after the major revelry of 12 midnight they still have to be in the lookout for their children to make sure that they don’t indiscriminately pick up fireworks on the streets,” Duque said.

The monitoring of fireworks-relat­ed injuries will be until January 5.

50 to 80 percent dip

The Philippine National Police (PNP) likewise recorded a 50 to 80 percent drop in the firecracker and stray-bullet injuries.

PNP spokesperson man Chief Supt. Benigno Durana said there is only one recorded incident of illegal discharge of firearm from December 31 to January 1 compared to seven in the same period last year.

For the firecracker-related inju­ries, Durana said they recorded only 30 cases compared to 99 in 2018’s revelry.

“We are happy to announce that our overall celebration of the Holiday season based on our monitoring was a resoundingly successful implemen­tation of our Ligtas Paskuhan 2018 wherein our security and safety situ­ation during this period was a lot of more safer and peaceful compared to 2017,” said Durana.

But he clarified they would yield to the data of the DOH when it comes to the monitoring of firecracker-related injuries.

The DOH is the main agency that releases data on firecracker-related deaths and injuries while the PNP records cases on indiscriminate fir­ing and operations on the illegal use, manufacture and selling of prohibited firecrackers and other pyrotechnic materials.

The official attributed the possible all-time low in firecracker and stray-bullet injuries not only to the strategic deployment of policemen but also on the national government’s stern warn­ing against the traditional New Year revelry using prohibited firecrackers and indiscriminate firing.

“So overall, it was generally safer and peaceful New Year’s eve celebra­tion,” said Durana.

 
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