MANILA, Philippines - The country can only take comfort in the thought that the last thing Nicole Ella saw were the dazzling colorful lights in the sky that ushered in 2013.
Nicole, the 7-year old girl who was hit by a stray bullet while watching the fireworks display during the New Year revelry, died today, Wednesday, at 2:26 pm, at the East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC) in Quezon City.
"From the time she was admitted, she was already unconscious. She continuously deteriorated because of severe head injury," Dr Emmanuel Bueno, head of the EAMC's Department of Emergency Medicine, told Rappler.
According to Bueno, Nicole was put on a respirator while in the hospital. Bueno added an operation could not be performed on Nicole to remove the bullet that struck her head and pierced through her left eye before it got lodged in her left cheek.
"Hindi na naoperahan ang bata. 'Di niya kakayanin ang operasyon (The child was not operated on. She will not survive it)," Bueno said.
The devastated parents of Nicole were beside their daughter when she passed away, according to Bueno.
"The cause of Nicole's head injury was indiscriminate firing. The message is clear, let's stop indiscriminate gun firing. Who knows the next kid who will be hit is our own child or relative?" Bueno said, calling the act irresponsible.
In a statement, Malacañang echoed the nation's grief over Nicole's demise.
"Together with the Filipino people, we extend our deepest sympathies to Stephanie’s family. No one should experience the overwhelming heartbreak that her family is now enduring, especially during a season of celebration and hope," the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson (OPS) said.
"This tragedy is a sobering reminder of how a reprehensible act from a thoughtless individual can rob our people, particularly our children, of their futures. For such a promising life to be lost in such a senseless way puts the burden on all of us to make certain that this tragedy is not repeated," the OPS added.
Malacañang called on Filipinos to be mindful of the welfare of others when observing celebrations in a responsible and safe manner.