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11-year-old girl dies from stray bullet injury

Katerina Francisco
11-year-old girl dies from stray bullet injury
(UPDATED) At least 30 other people have been injured due to stray bullets during the holiday festivities, the police says

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – An 11-year-old girl was killed and more than a dozen others injured due to stray bullets as the country ushered in the new year.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) said as of Friday evening, January 2, 54 people have been injured due to stray bullets fired during the holiday festivities.

The PNP has so far confirmed one fatality: an 11-year-old girl in Abra who died early Thursday, January 1, after she was hit in the head by a stray bullet.

The victim was standing outside the house with her family when a bullet – later identified to have come from a caliber .45 firearm – struck her, a GMA News report said.

Police is currently investigating the incident.

The number of stray bullet victims recorded this year is higher compared to the 22 victims recorded on January 1, 2014. 

Most of the victims are from Metro Manila, Calabarzon, and Western Visayas, the PNP said. 

PNP deputy PIO Senior Superintendent Robert Po said the number of indiscriminate firing cases rose sharply in the run up to New Year’s Eve.

In an interview on ANC, Po said that from the 19 cases recorded between December 16 to 31, the number rose to 45 on New Year’s Eve and January 1.

At least 16 people, including cops, security guards, and civilians, have been arrested for indiscriminate firing of guns.

The arrested police officers will face administrative and criminal charges, Po said. 

Responding to the incidents, Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr urged the PNP to improve their system of monitoring firearms across the country.

Noting that many firearms are not legally registered, Coloma added that the PNP should focus on the grassroots level to prevent more cases of indiscriminate firing.

“The thorough monitoring of the use of firearms is the answer [to these cases],” Coloma said.

In a January 3 Malacañang Palace press briefing, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte gave assurances that the PNP will find the culprits who let loose bullets fly.

The PNP has begun a process called slug matching to match the stray bullets with the owner’s gun.

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