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Fireworks-related injuries rise to 62 ahead of New Year

JC Gotinga
Fireworks-related injuries rise to 62 ahead of New Year
(UPDATED) Nearly half of the cases involve illegal firecrackers

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – At least 62 people have sustained injuries related to fireworks since December 21, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Tuesday, December 31.

The number is 63% lower than the 5-year average of 169 cases, recorded within the same period, from 6 am of December 21 to 5:59 am of December 31.

The victims were aged 1 to 71 years old, and most of them – 51 or 82% – were males. Blast or burn injuries comprised 47 or 76% of the cases. Sixteen of them sustained eye injuries.

In two cases, the victims’ injuries required amputation.

The victims were from Metro Manila (27), Ilocos Region (8), Cagayan Valley (4), Central Luzon (1), Calabarzon (4), Bicol (4), Mimaropa (1), Western Visayas (3), Central Visayas (6), Davao Region (1), and Soccsksargen (3), based on reports from 50 of the 61 hospitals on the DOH’s watch list.

Nearly half of the cases of injuries (29) were caused by illegal firecrackers, the DOH said. The top fireworks involved were, in order, Piccolo, Boga, Kwitis, 5-star, and Luces.

Piccolo and Boga are included among firecrackers banned by the Philippine National Police (PNP)

The PNP earlier issued a warning that its officers will be patrolling areas where fireworks are sold, and will be inspecting for illegal firecrackers.

The following are firecrackers declared illegal by the government:

  • Piccolo
  • Watusi
  • Giant Whistle Bomb
  • Giant Bawang
  • Large Judas Belt
  • Super Lolo
  • Lolo Thunder
  • Atomic Bomb
  • Atomic Bomb Triangulo
  • Pillbox
  • Boga
  • Kwiton
  • Goodbye Earth
  • Goodbye Bading
  • Hello Colombia
  • Goodbye Philippines

Manufacturing, selling, distributing, or using illegal fireworks is punishable by imprisonment of 6 months to one year, and a fine of P20,000 to P30,000.

An order from President Rodrigo Duterte limits the use of fireworks to “communal displays” sanctioned by local governments to avoid accidents and injuries.

The government urges the public to altogether refrain from using fireworks.

In Quezon City, 180 zones were designated for fireworks use and display. Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte also tapped 3 city-run hospitals and 10 super health centers to be on alert for firecracker-related incidents. –

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JC Gotinga

JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.