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BAGUIO, Philippines – A 60-year-old priest was hit by a stray bullet during the New Year’s Day revelry in Baguio City, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) confirmed on Wednesday, January 3.
The priest from Baguio’s Irisan district, whose identity was not disclosed, was hit in his left shoulder at around 12:15 am on January 1.
“He was immediately taken to the hospital for treatment and was later scheduled for an operation due to a fractured collarbone,” read a statement on the CBCP’s website.
Local authorities said investigators found a slug from a 9-millimeter handgun near the area where the priest was wounded. Efforts are now underway to identify the person responsible for the incident.
The local diocese’s AM radio station, DZWT, reported that the priest was already “in stable condition.”
This incident sparked renewed calls in Baguio for stricter gun control and responsible firearms use, highlighting the dangers of indiscriminate shooting, particularly during celebrations.
The CBCP and the local diocese have requested prayers for the quick recovery of the priest and have appealed to the public for any information that may aid in the investigation.
The police and the military have repeatedly warned its personnel against firing guns to greet the new year.
The Department of Health (DOH) noted a rise in New Year’s Day revelry-related injuries compared to previous years when the country was in lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Authorities suggested a possible “revenge drive” among the public for celebrating the new year with fireworks.
Data showed that there have been 116 new fireworks-related injuries recorded following New Year’s Eve celebrations based on DOH data as of January 1. Of these, 113 cases were reported in Metro Manila, followed by 27 in Central Luzon, and 24 in the Ilocos Region. – Rappler.com