Sunday, December 28, 2014
Phil. National Police, Malacanang Palce and Dept. of Health Urge Revelers to Celebrate the New Year Safely
Malacañang has an advice to parents: Do not allow your children to get hold of firecrackers.
And to revelers, the Palace suggests the use of indigenous materials in welcoming the New Year to prevent irreversible injuries caused by exploding firecrackers.
As of December 26, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has recorded six firecracker-related fires across the country and at least 19 firecracker-related injuries from December 16 to December 26.
“This only shows the danger of using firecrackers and other pyrotechnic materials,” said PNP spokesperson, Chief Superintendent Wilben Mayor.
Based on PNP records, two fire-cracker-related incidents were reported in Central Visayas while each was reported in Ilocos Region, Western Visayas, Cordillera Administrative Region and Metro Manila.
For its part, the Department of Health (DOH) has listed a total of 113 firework-related injuries as of 6 a.m. yesterday.
Health Assistant Secretary Gerardo Bayugo said the figures show a decrease of 86 cases as compared with the same period last year or a decrease of at least 43 percent this year.
The DOH, however “still finds the trend unacceptable, especially on cases where injuries resulted to permanent consequences.”
Most of the cases were reported in the National Capital Region with 39 percent.
In a statement read by Bayugo, Acting health secretary Janette Garin said, “Every life is precious. The lower number of cases only encourages DOH to intensify its campaign to stop the use of firecrackers in merry-making to welcome the New Year.”
Most of the firecracker injuries were caused by piccolo (75 cases), eight cases were caused by an unknown firecracker, six were caused by 5-star, five were caused by Camara; and four were caused by “boga,” an explosive devise made from PVC pipes.
“Piccolo is a banned firecracker. We appeal to parents, they are the ones who have control over their children. They must not allow their children to use firecrackers, especially that users of Piccolo are mostly children,” Bayugo told reporters.
Luckily, there is no reported injury caused by a stray bullet.
Of the 113 cases, at least 39 cases involve children less than 10 years old.
“There is a child who is a victim of firecracker explosion. The child did not die, but his right hand will be amputated. The firecracker that caused the accident is not yet identified. It happened during Christmas,” Bayugo told reporters. The child is only five years old.
Another child from Manila, aged nine, will likely lose his left hand to Piccolo, disclosed Director Cirilo Galindez of DOH. The child, as of press time, is at the Ospital ng Maynila.
“There were six who need amputation, but the others will only have portion of their fingers amputated. The two are so far the worst,” Bayugo noted.
Garin also mentioned a five-year-old boy from San Mateo, Rizal, who accidentally ingested “luces” (sparklers) after the boy apparently mistook the fireworks as candy. This is the first case of fireworks ingestion reported this year.
In asking parents to keep their children away from firecrackers, the DOH painted a grim future as a result of exploding firecrackers: “Imagine the rest of a child’s life without hands, arms, legs, or injured body parts after losing them to fireworks. Not only is self-esteem drastically diminished, productivity at school will also be greatly affected.”
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said parents should not remain complacent. “To parents, let’s take care of our children, especially this coming New Year’s Eve. Let’s make sure they will not get hold of firecrackers or better yet, do not buy them at all.”
“Let’s just use alternative noisemakers so we can welcome the New Year peacefully and not celebrate it inside the hospital emergency room,” she added.
The Palace official likewise reminded the public to take care of their health this holiday season.
“During this time of reunions and parties, let’s also watch our health. As one doctor I have talked to said: The holidays are not a license to eat everything that you want, especially if you have conditions,” Valte said.
The PNP has joined forces with the Department of Health in regulating the manufacture, sale, distribution and use of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices.
Specifically prohibited are firecrackers with net explosives content of more than 0.2 grams or approximately 1/3 teaspoon.
“These prohibited firecrackers are very dangerous and are known to cause serious injury or even death,” said Mayor.
“We discourage our citizens from buying these dangerous firecrackers. We have laws that prohibit these and the full force of the law will be applied to violators,” he added.
Also specifically prohibited is the manufacture and sale of “Watusi”.
Although its explosive content is not potentially dangerous, Mayor said Watusi contains yellow phosphorous that is poisonous when ingested.
For his part, Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, PNP Officer-in-Charge urged the public to cooperate with the police by reporting any incident of indiscriminate firing of guns or use of prohibited firecrackers.
He said the report can be coursed through PNP Hotline 09178475757 (for text message) or at PNP Twitter account @PNPhotline for social media reports.
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