Firecracker and fireworks-related injuries in the Cordillera from December 21, 2023 to January 5, 2024 increased by some seventy percent compared to similar incidents recorded by the health department during the previous reckoning period.
Data from the Cordillera office of the Department of health (DOH-CAR) showed that there were some 39 firecracker and fireworks-related injuries that were reported from December 21, 2023 to January 5, 2024 compared to the 24 cases that were earlier documented from December 21, 2022 to January 5, 2023.
Kalinga recorded the highest number of firecracker and fireworks-related injuries with 13 closely followed by Baguio City with 12, Abra – 7, Apayao – 4 and Benguet – 3 while Ifugao and Mountain Province were able to successfully maintain the desired zero firecracker and fireworks related injuries during the New Year revelry.
DOH-CAR regional director Dr. Rio Magpantay said that the age range of the victims is from 5 to 62 years old with a median of 20 years.
Further, he claimed that 58 percent of the firecrackers and fireworks used by the victims were legal.
On the other hand, the DOH-Car official pointed out that some 61 percent of the injuries were active users of firecrackers and fireworks where 54 percent of the said incidents happened right in the premises of their respective homes.
According to him, no amputations and no deaths were reported while one case of stray bullet injury was reported in Baguio city.
Magpantay reminded the public not to pick up unexploded firecrackers with their bare hands but instead they must carefully transfer the unexploded firecrackers using a broom and dustpan or any similar tool to a bucket of water.
In the event of fireworks-related injury, he advised the concerned individuals to immediately seek medical attention from the nearest health facility as it may eventually lead to possible complications arising from tetanus and other infections that might compromise their health condition in the coming days.
The DOH conducts monitoring of fireworks and firecracker-related incidents from December 21 of the previous year to January 5 to the succeeding year as part of its regular program Oplan Iwas Paputok aside from intensified information and education campaigns on the non-use of unregulated firecrackers and fireworks during the celebration of the New year revelry.
Police authorities identified the victim of the lone stray bullet incident as Fr. Mariano Esquibel Talay, 60, and a resident of Holy Family, Bakakeng Norte/Sur, Baguio City.
The priest just attended the New year’s eve mass and joined people in the neighborhood to watch the fireworks display to welcome the new year at Purok 7, Irisan, Baguio City when he allegedly felt something itchy on his left shoulder. When he tried to scratch it, he saw blood oozing from the said part of his body that prompted his companions to rush him to the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) for immediate medical treatment.
Attending physicians were able to remove from his shoulder a slug of a .9mm caliber pistol which was believed to have been used by the still unidentified suspect in the said incident.
Probers took hold of the recovered slug for the conduct of the necessary ballistic examination to ascertain whose firearm was used in the illegal discharge of firearms to welcome the new year. By Dexter A. See