The Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday said that for the first time in the last 10 years of their continuous surveillance of fireworks-related injuries (FWRI) as of New Year's Eve (December 31) revelries, more Filipino lives were spared from the deadly and injurious firecrackers this time around.
In a press briefing held at DOH media relations unit (MRU) in Tayuman, Sta. Cruz, Manila, Health Secretary Dr. Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial said that as of 6 a.m. of Jan. 1, 2017, a total of 350 fireworks-related injuries were recorded by DOH sentinel sites.
"This is 520 cases or 60 percent lower than the five-year (2011-2015) average and 524 or 60 percent lower compared to the same time period last year," said Ubial.
Ubial said the "remarkable decline" seen in the last 10 years can be attributed to the collective campaign through the help of the media, officials from Philippine National Police (PNP) and cooperation of local government units on conduct of community fireworks display.
She also said that the perception and public knowledge that President Rodrigo R. Duterte is against the firecrackers has somehow affected the reception of the people on the use of firecrackers wherein some of them even became afraid to use them.
"There is this impression that those who will use firecrackers will be caught and punished by the President," said Ubial.
The 60 percent reduction in the number of firecracker-related injuries covered the period of December 21, 2016 to 6 a.m. of January 1, 2017.
Though, she said that counting will continue and stop by January 5, still, there can still be some changes in the figures after.
"This is the lowest figure, but only as of January 1. The number of injuries will continue to be tallied until January 5," she added.
Eighty-four percent of the cases are males. The youngest is two years old while the oldest is 71.
"Large majority of the cases are below 15 years old or 58 percent," she said.
Blast without amputation was recorded at 83 percent.
She added eye injuries were high comprising about 18 percent.
The blast with amputation cases totaled to five among males.
Two of them were passive users -- three and eight years old. While the other three were active users, ages six, 23, and 33.
"What is very sad is the case number 3, three years old from Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija on December 30 The case was passive meaning the child was just watching or a bystander and not using," she said.
She added that it was so saddening that such child, very young, will live a disability for the rest of his life.
Total of passive users are 35 percent or 121 while active users is 65 percent.
She added that legal fireworks also caused injuries comprising 40 percent; unknown is 5 percent.
Some of the legal fireworks are kwitis, luces and fountains.
Illegal fireworks is still the highest cause of injuries.
Piccolo remains as the most common cause of injuries with 132 cases (38 percent); while Boga caused 18 cases (5 percent). Both are illegal firecrackers.
Hand is usually the most affected while other injuries were recorded on other body parts such head, eyes, abdomen because there are firecrackers coming out of nowhere and hitting the victims in any other parts of the body including foot.
Two cases of ingestions were also recorded among children but these patients were both managed and sent home.
Most of the cases came from National Capital Region (NCR) recording about 211 cases (60 percent).
It was followed by Western Visayas with 34 cases (10 percent) and Central Luzon with 29 cases (8 percent).
In NCR, majority of the injuries took place in the City of Manila with 81 cases. Next is Quezon City with 48 case while Marikina ranks third with 23 cases.
She said this 'piece of good news" will not stop them from pushing for the Executive Order to ban firecrackers as they aim for reduction further of injuries by ensuring that community fireworks display will be promoted by every LGUs and designated areas will be followed strictly on the use of firecrackers for communities still wanting use of it in their celebrations and festivities.
Meanwhile, she added also that while they are reporting a good news on the decline of cases, she said that another case of stray-bullet incidence marred the New Year's Eve reverly when a 15 year-old girl was struck by a stray bullet in Malabon City.
The Health chief was saddened as she personally visited the patient at Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center in Manila.
Health officials earlier repeatedly appealed to gun users and owners to avoid indiscriminate firing as they emphasized that every life save from preventable ways is very important.
A total of four stray-bullet cases were recorded by DOH as of this date.
Source: Philippines News Agency