DOH urges EO banning firecrackers despite 'record-low' injuries

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 06 2017 02:11 PM

Children emerge from the firecracker haze in Calbayog Street in Mandaluyong City on Saturday during the 2017 New Year’s Eve celebration. Larry Monserate Piojo, ABS-CBN News

The Department of Health (DOH) said Friday that it will continue to push for an executive order (EO) banning individual firecracker use, after seeing a drop in the number of injuries this holiday season, compared to last year.

As of 6 a.m. on January 6, the DOH recorded a total of 630 fireworks-related injuries and no deaths, said Undersecretary Gerardo Bayugo in a press briefing.

This number is 292 cases, or 32 percent lower than last year’s count, he said, and beat the country’s record-low of 720 cases in 2008.

“Compared to 2015, [when we had] 922, and [now] it's 630,” Bayugo said.

Of the total cases, 627 were wounded in firecracker explosions, while three victims were downed by firecracker ingestion.

Among the culprits were prohibited firecrackers such as piccolo and five-star, which caused 192 injuries (31 percent), and 32 cases (5 percent), respectively.

Most of those injured were from the National Capital Region, Bayugo said, making up 340 cases or 54 percent of all injuries in the country.

This was followed by Western Visayas with 78 (12 percent), and Region 3 with 47 injuries (7 percent).

In the NCR, most injured were based in Manila, Quezon City, and Marikina City, with 112 (33 percent), 76 (22 percent), and 27 (8 percent), respectively.

More than half, 351 cases (56 percent) of cases were of children less than 15 years old.

“We appeal to the public that if you have remaining firework materials in your home, dispose immediately by soaking in water…do not let children be tempted to play with firecrackers,” Bayugo said.

The DOH lauded the efforts of local governments, non-government agencies, and media in encouraging the public to celebrate the new year with alternatives to fireworks.

The agency also encouraged communities to continue to foster public fireworks displays to discourage individuals from staging their own at home.

“We will…[push] the approval of the EO to ban individual firecracker use, and foster community fireworks display in the LGUs so that we will be able to achieve the goal of zero casualties due to firecracker injuries,” Bayugo said.