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New year celebration ‘resoundingly safer’ this year, says PNP

/ 04:56 PM January 01, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos have enjoyed a generally safe and peaceful welcoming of the New Year, with a notable decline in the number of incidents normally reported during the holidays.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde took pride of this achievement in a statement on Tuesday, saying it could be attributed to the early preparations of government authorities.

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“The December 31 New Year’s Eve revelry alone was resoundingly safer compared to 2017,” he said.

The Department of Health has recorded a 68 percent drop of firecracker-related injuries during the festivities for New Year, with only 139 injuries compared to the 428 cases in the same period last year.

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READ: DOH records 68% drop in firecracker injuries

Albayalde also attributed the decrease in reported incidents to Executive Order No. 28 and Memorandum Order No. 31 which regulated the use and sale of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices, the police’s coordination with other agencies, and the rain which kept residents inside their homes.

But during the festivities, authorities have also arrested 23 persons, including seven police officers and a member of the military, for alleged indiscriminate firing.

The arrested police officers will face administrative sanctions, said Albayalde.

“As I have promised, there will be no mercy for errant personnel who will fire their guns to celebrate the holiday,” he said in a statement.

READ: 7 cops face admin raps for indiscriminate firing over holidays

Before the New Year’s Eve revelry, an explosion in Cotabato City also left two persons dead and 34 others injured, even with martial law in Mindanao.

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PNP spokesperson Chief Supt. Benigno Durana Jr. said security forces cannot guard “every inch” of Mindanao, but said more attacks could have happened without the martial law in the region. /muf

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