By CHARINA CLARISSE L. ECHALUCE
The Department of Health (DoH) recorded a 68 percent reduction in the number of firecracker-related injuries during the celebration of New Year, exceeding the expected 50 percent decrease due to the nationwide firecracker ban.
“We are relatively pleased. Relatively because there are still injuries. But pleased because of the substantial reduction or decrease on fireworks-related injuries from December 21, 2017 to January 1, 2018, compared to the same period of the previous year. Also, 77 percent lower than the five-year – 2012 to 2016 – average,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a press conference at the East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City yesterday.
“Total number of cases reached 191. Mababa po ito [ng 68 percent] .. There is no reported stray bullet injuries,” Duque added.
No case of fireworks ingestion and death was also reported.
Earlier, Health Undersecretary Gerardo Bayugo disclosed that a 50 percent drop in the number of firecracker-related injuries was expected because of the full implementation of the nationwide firecrackers ban.
“Last year, we recorded a 32 percent reduction in injuries due to rumors that there will be a ban. So this year we see further reduction of 50 percent now that the ban is already in place,” Bayugo said.
Exceeding the estimated percentage, Duque thanked President Duterte for passing Executive Order No. 28 or the firecrackers ban, and the other agency’s partners.
“Overall, the government’s campaign against fireworks has reduced the number of injuries. The DoH is grateful for the strong cooperation of our local government units and other government agencies for this success. We would like to thank President Duterte for the passing of the Executive Order no. 28, which reinforced the efforts of the DoH and other concerned agencies such as the Department of Interior and the Local Government, Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine National Police, and EcoWaste Coalition, among others,” the DoH chief said.
The National Capital Region (NCR) has the most number of cases with 115 or 60 percent; followed by Western Visayas with 15 or 8 percent, while Bicol Region, Calabarzon, and Central Luzon have 13 cases or 7 percent each.
In NCR, Manila, so far, has the highest number of cases.
“Manila had the most number of caes, 63 cases; followed by Quezon City, 14; Pasig City, 11; and Valenzuela City, six,” Duque said.
Piccolo remains the top cause of firecracker injuries with 94 or 49 percent. It was followed by kwitis with 14 or seven percent; unknown firecrackers with 12 or 6 percent; fountain with 10 or 5 percent; and boga with nine or 5 percent.
Majority, 160 or 84 percent, of amputee cases were males.
“Age cases ranged from 11 months to 69 years old. About 64 percent, 123 cases, were active users and about 77 percent, 148 cases, occurred in the streets,” Duque said.
Meanwhile, majority, 162 cases or 85 percent, sustained blast injuries without amputation.
“Twenty-five cases or 13 percent had eye injuries; and 7 or 4 percent had blast injuries with amputation,” he added.