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DoH notes decline of firecracker injuries

Fears that President Duterte would harshly punish revelers who celebrate the New Year with firecrackers seemed to have caused a “remarkable” decline in injuries – the lowest in 10 years – the Department of Health (DoH) chief reported yesterday.

Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said injuries during this year’s revelry were the lowest in 10 years after Duterte said he was considering repeating a ban on firecrackers which he implemented when mayor of his southern home town of Davao.

“People are now afraid to light firecrackers because of the president,” Ubial said. “They have this impression that somehow they will get caught or they will be punished.”

Ubial said 350 were injured by firecrackers and fireworks this year compared to a 10-year average of 1,000.

Ubial said the downtrend in firecracker-related injuries continued this year, following the President’s call on police and local government authorities to ban public lighting of firecrackers.

Last month, Duterte said he would issue an order to ban people from using firecrackers, limiting their use to community fireworks displays.

“The least that I can say or do is just to issue a warning that it’s very, very dangerous,” he said pending the order’s release.

Duterte said he was concerned about children, who make up most of the victims.