BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Department of Health (DOH-CAR) reported a sixty five percent drop in the number of firecracker-related injuries from December 21, 2016, to January 5, 2017, with only twenty-two cases compared to the sixty-three cases recorded regionwide during the same reckoning period last year.
Dr. Lakshmi Legaspi, DOH-CAR regional director, said Apayao recorded the highest decrease in the number of firecracker-related injuries from 14 injuries during the previous reckoning period to only 2 injuries during the current reckoning period while Abra registered an 84 percent drop in similar cases with only 6 this year compared to 25 the previous year.
Based on the data obtained by the DOH-CAR during the reckoning period, Abra recorded the highest number of cases with 6 followed by Baguio with 5, Ifugao and Kalinga recorded 3 cases each, Benguet and Apayao had 2 cases each while Mountain Province had 1 firecracker-related injury.
For Baguio City, Dr. Rowena Galpo, City Health Services Officer, said there was a 54.5 percent decline in firecracker-related injuries this year with only 5 cases during the current reckoning period compared to the 11 cases recorded last year.
Galpo noted the 5 firecracker-related injuries were a 5-year old boy from Bakakeng New site, a 9-year old boy from Lower QM, a 20-year old male from Upper QM, a 32-year old male from Camp 7 and a 49-year old female from Phil-Am barangay.
Of the 22 reported firecracker-related injuries regionwide, health authorities revealed 17 males and 1 female were described to be active users while 2 females and 1 male were said to be passive users.
Legaspi attributed the successful campaign of the health department and the local governments against the sale and use of firecrackers and pyrotechnic materials for the New Year revelry to the aggressive and combined efforts to reach out to the people on the serious negative effects of using firecrackers and pyrotechnic materials to celebrate the Yuletide season.
“We are elated over the significant reduction in the number of firecracker-related injuries this year but we need to sustain our campaign to achieve zero casualties during the celebration of the Yuletide season,” she stressed.
The DOH-CAR official underscored the need for local governments to already enact ordinances banning the sale and use of firecrackers and pyrotechnic materials during the celebration of the Yuletide season in their respective areas of jurisdiction to compliment whatever orders that will be subsequently issued by higher authorities in the future.
For her part, Galpo added the need to continuously engage the barangay officials in a sustained information and education campaign to teach residents to shift from the use of firecrackers and pyrotechnic materials to non-harmful ways of making noise to celebrate the Yuletide season in their own homes.
She claimed one of the important aspects that guarantee the successful campaign are local policies that ban the sale and use of firecrackers and pyrotechnic materials as well as the imposition of stiffer penalties.
By Dexter A. See