DOH: Firework-related injuries down by 85%

Published January 2, 2021, 7:24 AM

by Betheena Unite

Stray bullet kills 12-year-old girl in Lanao del Norte

Firework-related injuries during the Christmas and New Year revelries drastically decreased by 85 percent, with only 50 injuries reported – the lowest in the last five years, the Department of Health (DOH) said Friday.

(Juan Carlo de Vela / MANILA BULLETIN)

But the Philippine National Police (PNP) reported Friday that a 12-year-old girl died after she was hit by a stray bullet in Lanao del Norte, while two others survived the same ordeal in separate incidents during the New Year’s Day celebration.

From December 21, 2020 to January 1, 2021, the DOH said it only recorded 50 firework-related injuries “with no cases of firework ingestion nor death reported.”

Of the 50 injuries, 49 were firework-related injuries and one was a stray bullet injury.

“This is 85 percent lower than the 340 total cases reported last year. Likewise, the number of cases this year is 89 percent lower than the five-year average (2015-2019),” the DOH said in a statement.

Of the total cases nationwide, the National Capital Region (NCR) reported the highest number with 22 cases, followed by Region IV-A (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon or Calabarzon) with 5 cases, and Regions I (Ilocos Region), V (Bicol Region), and VI (Western Visayas) with 4 cases each.

In NCR, Manila had the most number of injuries with 12 cases, followed by Caloocan with four cases, Pasig and Quezon City with two cases each, and Malabon and Marikina with one case each.

Overall, the DOH said, NCR registered an 88 percent decrease in the number of injuries compared to the previous year.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the “significant reduction in the total number of recorded cases may be attributed to the farreaching effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic affecting people’s willingness and ability to celebrate through the use of fireworks.”

“The lower numbers we achieved this year is a welcome development, but we will not stop until we achieve zero firework-related injuries and ensure that the next holidays will be safer for every Filipino,” Duque said.

“We have also observed that there was a change of behavior of Filipinos toward health. Due to the pandemic, the Filipinos became more aware and involved in ensuring health and safety of their family and community.

This decrease is also the success of all the families who follow the government’s prescribed protocols and instill good values to their children,” the secretary added.

Ages of injuries ranged from four to 53 years old while the most affected age group is between 10 to 14 years old.

Majority of the injuries were males at 71 percent and mostly with passive involvement.

Most injuries occurred equally in the streets and inside homes while one injury happened in a neighbor’s house.

The firework-related injuries reported were in the eyes, hand, forearm, arms, head, and neck.

Majority of these were blast injuries and did not require amputation.

Only 2 percent of the total injuries were blast injuries that required amputation.

The DOH said the top fireworks causing injuries were kwitis, boga, 5-star, fountain, and triangle.

Duque reminded those who have incurred injuries due to fireworks to immediately consult the nearest health facility for proper wound care and management and to avoid fatal complications like tetanus.

Meanwhile, the identities of the stray bullet victims were not immediately available.

In a statement, PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana said the two other stray bullet incidents happened in Dagupan City, Pangasinan, and in Barangay Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental.

Both survived the in incidents.

As this developed, Usana said that Staff Sgt. Karen Borremeo of the Malabon police was arrested after a concerned citizen reported that the policewoman indiscriminately fired her gun at around 7:45 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.

He said Borromeo turned over her firearm without resistance and is now being investigated.

The PNP spokesperson stressed that Borromeo will definitely face criminal and administrative charges for the infraction. (With a report from Chito A. Chavez)