’Cracker blasts hurt 218; stray bullets wound 7
Welcoming 2019 with a bang turned out badly for 218 people around the country who were injured after lighting up firecrackers from Dec. 21, 2018, to Jan. 1, records from the Department of Health (DOH) and the police showed.
At least seven people in the Visayas and Pangasinan province were wounded by stray bullets during the holiday monitoring period, reports said.
Central Luzon doctors have treated 32 patients, but that number represented a 92-percent drop from the 337 blast injuries recorded in the same period in 2017, said Dr. Jessie Fantone, DOH regional epidemiologist.
Pampanga province recorded the highest number of cases with 15 patients. Bulacan had seven; Tarlac, four; Nueva Ecija, three; while Aurora, Bataan and Zambales had a case each.
Most of the patients were male, and many were hurt by exploding “piccolo” and “kwitis” (skyrocket).
In Pangasinan, the celebration left 18 people with blast injuries and minor burns, according to Ana Ma. Teresa de Guzman, provincial health officer. The latest cases raised to 34 the number of firecracker-related injuries recorded in Pangasinan since Dec. 21.
Nine fireworks injuries were reported in the Cordillera region.
In Southern Tagalog, DOH and police officials recorded 23 cases of firecracker injuries in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) and Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) regions.
Quiet in Boracay
In the Visayas, reports showed 120 people were hurt by firecracker blasts.
Western Visayas region had the most number of victims at 51 followed by Central Visayas with 41. Eastern Visayas provinces tallied 28 firecracker blast victims.
For the first time in decades, the New Year celebration on Boracay Island was held without fireworks and firecrackers due to a ban imposed by the national government.
At Malay town in Aklan, fireworks were only allowed on the mainland, about 2 kilometers from Boracay.
The Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force imposed a ban on fireworks following the six-month closure of the island for rehabilitation. —REPORTS FROM TONETTE OREJAS, GABRIEL CARDINOZA, VILLAMOR VISAYA JR., MARICAR CINCO, NESTOR BURGOS JR., LEO UDTOHAN, DELTA DYRECKA LETIGIO, BENJIE TALISIC, PAUL LAURO, CARLA GOMEZ AND JOEY GABIETA
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