77% drop in firecracker-related injuries vs 5-year average

MANILA, Philippines (4th UPDATE) – The Department of Health (DOH) recorded 191 firecracker-related injuries nationwide as the country welcomed 2018, 77% lower than the 5-year average.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III  said in a news briefing on Monday, January 1, that the cases were recorded between December 21, 2017, to January 1. (READ: DOH targets zero firecracker injuries for New Year 2018

"The DOH today declared a 68% decrease in fireworks-related injuries from December 21, 2017, to January 1, 2018, compared to the same period of previous year," Duque said in a press conference held at the East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City.

Duque apparently compared the number of cases as of January 1 to the 630 cases recorded from December 21, 2016, to January 5, 2017.

His predecessor, Paulyn Ubial, reported 350 firecracker-related injuries on January 1, 2017. Compared to the numbers on January 1, 2018, the reduction is at 45%.

"I would say we are relatively pleased – relative because there are still injuries but pleased because of the substantial reduction or decrease in fireworks-related injuries from December 21, 2017, to January 1, 2018, compared to the same period of the previous year. And this is also 77% lower than the 5-year 2012 to 2016 average," Duque said.

Majority of the injuries were recorded in the National Capital Region (NCR) with 115 cases, followed by Western Visayas with 15 cases. Central Luzon, Calabarzon, and Bicol each reported 13 firecracker-related injuries.

In NCR, 63 of the cases were recorded in Manila, 14 in Quezon City, 11 in Pasig, and 6 in Valenzuela City.

In the Cordillera region, there were 4 reported cases of firecracker-related injuries. One had eye injuries and other parts of his face while the other 3 damaged their fingers. None were amputated. 

The piccolo remains the top cause of the injuries or 94 cases. This is followed by kwitis with 14 cases, unknown firecrackers with 12 cases, fountain with 10 cases, and boga with 9 cases.

He said there were no reported deaths due to firecrackers, fireworks ingestion, or stray bullets, based on reports from the police.

Duque said the DOH had been expecting a “downward trend” of injuries this year because of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order (EO) No. 28, which restricts the use of firecrackers and the staging fireworks displays. (READ: Locations of firecracker zones in Metro Manila for New Year's Eve)

Duque had inspected the emergency rooms of East Avenue Medical Center and Jose R Reyes Memorial Medical Center and the Philippine Orthopedic Center in Manila to check their readiness to accept patients injured due to the New Year’s Eve festivities.

During the news briefing, health chief thanked President Rodrigo Duterte for issuing Executive Order 28 restricting the use of fireworks and firecrackers, and the cooperation of the Department of  the nterior and Local Government, Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine National Police, EcoWaste Coalition, among other partners.

In June, President Rodrigo Duterte signed EO No. 28, banning private citizens from using firecrackers or staging their own firecracker displays at their homes.

The EO also mandates "community fireworks displays" instead as designated places for the use of firecrackers under supervision of the PNP. (READ: Locations of firecracker zones in Metro Manila for New Year's Eve)

Three people, including a village councilor, were arrested in Iloilo City for violating EO 28.

The fireworks and firecrackers surveillance of the DOH began on December 21 and will end on January 5. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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