Wayward fireworks hurt 17 in UP Diliman
A decades-old Yuletide tradition of the University of the Philippines-Diliman held Friday night to mark the end of classes and the start of the Christmas break for UP students turned into a chaotic spectacle when fireworks at the yearly UP Lantern Parade flew into an excited crowd and not toward the night sky.
The Quezon City Police District said some 17 onlookers were injured by the faulty pyrotechnics during the festivities at the UP Diliman campus in Quezon City.
The accident happened at around 8:30 p.m. Friday in front of Quezon Hall, the campus’s administration building, where floats and lanterns of participating colleges were showcased for a final round.
Colleges and other UP units competed with gigantic floats and lanterns in a parade around the Academic Oval which culminated at the Quezon Hall.
Two of the 17 injured onlookers, Lucia Dimaguila, 67, and Jomerson Salazar, 18, were rushed to the Capitol Medical Center along Quezon Avenue.
The rest were brought to the UP Infirmary for treatment.
Police identified them as Danice Daluyan, 4; Jene Jonel, 13; Jovy de Venecia, 12; Princess Cruz, 15; Floralyn Bonabine, 24; Jerome Esguerra, 11; Camille Ruiz, 24; Dennis Jayme, 18; Zheno Corpus, 15; Tennie Maulina, 34; Xavier Malilay, 26; Marie Rivera; Danica Uy, 14; Canon Esguerra, 41; and Danilo Tadong Jr.
Supt. Michael Macapagal, Anonas police station commander, said they had taken into custody the two technicians who were in charge of the fireworks display at the UP Lantern Parade.
He identified the two as Mark Vallejo and Julieto Labete, both employees of Solar Harvest Company, which the university had hired for some years now for the fireworks show. The two were brought in for questioning.
Depending on the outcome of the investigation and should the victims decide to sue, Macapagal said the two might face charges of reckless imprudence resulting to multiple injuries.
Vice chancellor for community affairs Melania Abad said university officials will meet with the fireworks contractor to investigate the accident.
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