MANILA -- The number of firecracker and stray bullet injuries during the New Year revelry has climbed to 962, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Saturday.
In his official Twitter account, Health Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag said that from December 21 until 6 a.m. Saturday, 943 people sustained wounds from firecrackers, 17 from stray bullets and 2 from firecracker ingestion.
Of the 943 firecracker-related injuries, 359 or 38 percent were caused by the banned firecracker piccolo.
The total figure is 5 percent higher than the 929 cases recorded during the same period last year.
Last year, 902 were injured due to firecrackers, 2 from fireworks ingestion, and 25 from stray bullets where 1 died.
This year's figure has also surpassed the total number of injuries recorded from December 21 to January 5 last year, which was 931.
In a press briefing on Friday, Tayag said the health department is urging local government units (LGUs) to implement a ban on firecrackers and stage fireworks displays instead.
This means the public will "just watch" and "not touch" any firecracker to avoid getting injured.
Tayag said the DOH will also now closely coordinate with the Bureau of Customs to prevent the entry of illegal firecrackers in the country.