Health authorities warned the public on the use of firecrackers and fireworks to celebrate and welcome the new year 2023 to prevent them from being injured and to ensure their safety.
Dr. Rio Magpantay, regional director of the Cordillera office of the Department of Health (DOH-CAR), said that it is best for the people to refrain from using firecrackers and fireworks in creating noise to drive away the evil spirits to welcome 2023 but instead use alternative ways of making noise to prevent them from being injured that might compromise their health condition.
Based on data obtained from the DOH-CAR, firecracker and fireworks-related injuries in the different parts of the region over the past 5 years significantly decreased through the years.
However, the DOH-CAR official pointed out the need for concerned government agencies and local governments to sustain the gains of the Iwas Paputok campaign until such time that there will be zero casualty during the new year revelry.
In 2017, the DOH-CAR recorded some 18 firecracker and fireworks-related injuries in the region before it dropped to 13 cases in 2018. The said incidents drastically increased to 22 cases in 2019 before dropping to only 4 in 2020 and again increasing to 9 cases in 2022.
Abra accounted for the highest number of fireworks and firecracker-related cases over the past 5 years with 24 cases followed by Benguet with 9 cases, Baguio City and Kalinga with 8 cases each, Mountain Province and Apayao with 6 cases each and Ifugao with 5 cases.
During the aforesaid 5-year period, there were some 64 firecracker-related injuries while there was only 1 fireworks ingestion and 1 stay bullet injury.
Of the 66 firecracker-related injuries that were recorded during the period, some 47 cases were described to be active and some 19 cases were said to be passive cases.
On the firecrackers and fireworks that were used, the DOH-CAR reported that 34 incidents were said to have used banned firecrackers and fireworks while there were some 31 incidents that used allowed and regulated firecrackers and pyrotechnic materials.
Magpantay stipulated that there was a decrease of fireworks-related injuries from the pre-pandemic to the pandemic period where there were 10 cases of fireworks-related injuries were recorded in 2020 and 2021.
According to him, all age groups from children to elderly have reported firecracker and fireworks-related injuries where males were the ones that had the most number of injuries.
Magpantay said that kwitis is the most common legal firecracker that were used by the victims while boga and piccolo were the most illegal firecrackers that were used and involved in the said incidents.
He reiterated the appeal of concerned government agencies and local governments to the public to avoid using firecrackers and fireworks when welcoming the new year so that they will be able to happily celebrate their gatherings without suffering from injuries so that they will remain productive during the coming years.