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DOH cites record low firecracker injuries

The Department of Health (DOH) yesterday said that it has recorded 139 firecracker-related injuries nationwide, which is 80 percent lower than the five-year average.

A reveler is wheeled into a hospital for treatment after being injured during a raucous New Year celebration Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019 in Manila, Philippines. Dozens of Filipinos are injured as they welcome the new year by setting off powerful firecrackers in one of Asia's most violent celebrations. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

A reveler is wheeled into a hospital for treatment after being injured during a raucous New Year celebration  in Manila, Philippines.  (AP)

“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.
The 139 recorded cases were from the period of 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 Jan. 5, 2018.
Out 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.
Cases breakdown
The regions with the most number of cases came from the National Capital Region with 53 cases; followed by Western Visayas with 26; Central Visayas with 13; and 10 cases each from Central Luzon and Calabarzon.
The fireworks that caused most injuries are Kwitis with 30 cases; Boga with 16 cases; Piccolo with 15 cases; Luces with eight cases; and Five-star and Triangle with seven cases each.
Duque said that most cases occurred in the streets (73 cases), followed by those at home (59 cases), five in “other areas,” while two happened in designated fireworks display areas.
The health chief said that the injuries in designated fireworks display areas happened 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.
The health chief attributed the decrease in cases to the Executive Order No. 28 signed by President Duterte in 2017 as it “prohibits residential and personal use of fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices and instead shift to community fireworks display,” he said.
Another factor is the heavy rains brought by typhoon Usman.
“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.
Meanwhile, Duque said that they are still expecting that the cases will still increase as there are late reports still coming from the other regions.
“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 or their children to make sure that they don’t indiscriminately pick up fireworks on the streets,” the health chief appealed to parents.
The monitoring of fireworks-related injuries will be until Jan. 5. (Analou de Vera)