BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – Western Visayas reported more than 60 firecracker-related injuries during the New Year revelries, with minors composing more than half of the patients.
Negros Occidental reported the most number of cases among the region’s 6 provinces.
The Department of Health (DOH) in Region VI said a total of 64 cases were reported in the region during the surveillance period from December 21 to January 3.
Of the firecracker injuries, 35 were in Negros Occidental, 13 in Aklan, 12 in Iloilo, 2 in Capiz, 2 in Guimaras, and 0 in Antique.
More than half of these patients were minors.
Of the 64 firecracker-related injuries, 41 patients were aged 1 to 17 years old, according to the DOH-VI’s Aksyon Paputok Injury Reduction Report.
The youngest victim, a one-year old boy from Sipalay City, was hit in the eye by an unknown firecracker on January 1. He was already sent home from Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital in Bacolod City.
Most of the cases were eye injuries and blast injuries in the hands. Most of them were treated as outpatients.
Most of the blast injuries were caused by illegal firecrackers including boga, piccolo, whistle bomb, luces, and kuwitis.
Dr May Ann Sta Lucia, regional coordinator of DOH-VI Violence and Injury Prevention Program, said there was a huge decline in the firecracker injuries this year compared to last year’s 198.
She credited the government’s aggressive campaign against firecrackers by virtue of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order Number 28, which restricts the use of fireworks.
Nationwide, the DOH recorded 191 firecracker-related injuries as the country welcomed 2018. The figure was 77% lower than the 5-year average.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the DOH was considering recommending to the President to impose a total ban on firecrackers.
Also this year, local government units designated firecracking zones in their respective areas. Violators were arrested by the police.
Among those caught due to firecracker-related offense was a barangay kagawad in Iloilo City. – Rappler.com