MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) clarified that the 15-year-old girl hit by a bullet on New Year’s Eve was a victim of a shooting incident, not a stray bullet as earlier reported by the Department of Health (DOH).
“Based on the initial investigation of Malabon CPS (City Police Station), the 15-year-old who was initially reported as victim of indiscriminate firing was a victim of a shooting incident. Not a stray bullet by indiscriminate firing,” said PNP National Capital Region Police Office director Chief Superintendent Oscar Albayalde past 2 am on Sunday, January 1.
He said in a media statement that the police investigation is still ongoing and they have yet to identify the suspect.
“We will give progress report as obtained. However, whether she be a victim of a stray bullet or shooting incident, we would like extend our sympathy and prayers that she recovers and vow to investigate the matter fully to give justice to the victim,” Albayalde added.
In a press briefing held before noon on Sunday, Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said the girl was watching a firework display in Malabon when a “stray bullet” hit her head at around 11:45 pm on Saturday.
She was admitted to the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center (JRMMC) in Manila at 1 am on Sunday. DOH Bureau of Local Health Development Director Eric Tayag told reporters the girl “needs a miracle” to be saved from her injury.
Dr Emmanuel Montaña, JRMMC director, said the girl is currently in a “deep coma” but the hospital will be giving all the necessary medical support needed to save the victim’s life.
The DOH reported 350 fireworks-related injuries as of 6 am on January 1, 60% lower than the 5-year average from 2011 to 2015.
Albayalde said that the police has recorded 3 stray bullet incidents so far – one on the eve of December 25 in Santa Cruz, Manila, and one in Taguig City and Batasan Hills, Quezon City on the eve of January 1.
“This record is down by 73% compared to the 11 incidents last year,” said Albayalde. – with reports from Bea Cupin/Rappler.com