MANILA, Philippines—The infamous piccolo, a type of firecracker banned by the government, remains to be among the leading causes of firecracker-related injuries as the New Year revelry draws nearer, the Department of Health said Monday.
Speaking to reporters during an ocular inspection at the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center in Manila, DOH Undersecretary Teodoro Herbosa said piccolo registered the biggest number of injuries at 107, or 58.1 percent, of the total 184 firecracker-related cases as of its latest advisory.
Seventy-eight of the 184 injured were children aged six to 10 years old, and 57 of these children were said to have used piccolo.
Piccolo is a roughly two-inch illegal firecracker that ignites when scratched on a rough surface. Injuries caused by piccolo could be as minor as burns or as serious and permanent as blindness.
Reports had it that in 2011, 265 of the 972 recorded firecracker-related injuries were caused by piccolo.
Herbosa said piccolo continues to attract customers, particularly children, due to its cheap pricing, as well as its packaging.
“Ang teorya namin kaya piccolo ang pinakamarami kasi mura. P10 to P15 lang ito per pack na may laman na 20. Tapos nakaka-attract sa mga bata yung packaging na minsan cartoon, pirate, or kung ano ano (Our theory is that piccolo is the more prevalent because it’s the cheapest. It’s only P10 to P15 per pack and it has 20 pieces. Then it attracts the children because the packaging has cartoon characters, pirates and others),” Herbosa said.
Another type of firecracker which holds the second biggest share to injuries is kwitis with 15, 5-star with 11, triangle with 9, and baby rocket and another unspecified type, with 6.
NCR registered the biggest number of cases at 91, or 48.9 percent of the total number, followed by Region VI with 18, or 9.7 percent.
“Ang mensahe sa lahat ay huwag nating paglarui ng paputok a ng mga bata . . . paalala sa mga magulang, huwag hayaan ang mga anak sa harap ng panganib . . . huwag sila bigyan ng paputok (Our message to all is don’t let children play with firecrackers. Reminders to parents, don’t let your children in front of these dangerous items, don’t give them firecrackers),” Herbosa said.
Meanwhile, the National Capital Region Police Office said it has confiscated 716 boxes of piccolo, along with one truckload of assorted firecrackers and pyrotechnics seized in Manila, and another two pick-ups, and two other jeepneeys loaded with same items confiscated in Quezon City, and Eastern Police District areas.
Six stalls and 35 other ambulant vendors were also closed down.
Moreover, NCRPO chief, Police Director Leonardo Espina also said that as of 4 p.m., 141 persons have been arrested for violations of Republic Act 7183, the act regulating the sale, manufacture, distribution and use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices.
Republic Act 7183 states that the manufacturers, distributors and users of banned firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices may be imprisoned from six months to a year with a fine from P20,000 to P30,000 once caught.
Among others, Goodbye Philippines, Giant Plapla, Giant Lolo, Giant Bawang, Coke-in-Can Bomb, Bin Laden, Kwiton Bomb, Goodbye Bading, Kabasi, and picolo were those that have been identified as illegal firecracker products.