15 injured by firecracker blast
A 13-year-old boy in Talisay City lost three of his fingers when a whistle bomb went off in his hand on Christmas Day.
A man walking home in the same barangay of Tabunok, Talisay was hit in the waist by a lighted “kwitis” thrown by a reveler.
Both were among 15 persons in Cebu injured by firecracker blasts while two others were wounded by a stray bullet during the Christmas revelry in Cebu City.
A bullet grazed the head of 86-year-old Teodora Alvarez who was at home with family on Christmas in Modesta Street, barangay Guadalupe. The bullet pierced the roof, ricocheted on a hard object and ended up beside her feet.
Amid the early casualties, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma appealed to the public not to use firecrackers to avoid getting hurt.
“We can enjoy without endangering the lives of other people,” Palma said in a press conference.
Rennan Cimafranca, head of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) of the Department of Health in Central Visayas, said that from Dec. 24-25, 16 people were injured by different types of firecrackers.
Two stray bullet victims were reported in barangays Carreta and Guadalupe in Cebu City. The number was still lower than the 24 victims in last year’s Christmas celebration.
A man in Panglao, Bohol was the 16th victim in the region. There was no reported injuries from Siquijor and Negros Oriental.
The youngest victim was a 2-year-old boy from Cebu City whose left hand was badly cut when a piccolo exploded in his grasp.
“He was holding the piccolo. That’s why it’s up to parents to tell their children what’s the right thing to do,” said Cimafranca.
The oldest victim was an 85-year-old man from Cebu City who was hit by a firecracker lighted by other people. Three victims had amputations of their fingers while another suffered an eye injury.
Starting today, firecrackers sold outside the designated area in the South Road Properties (SRP) will be confiscated, said Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.
The mayor directed members of Oplan Paboto to convene and start monitoring unauthorized vendors and make sure that firecrackers are sold far from crowded and residential areas.
“There is no such thing as maximum tolerance when it comes to firecrackers because it may be too late already to have regrets,” he said.
A Cebu city ordinance prohibits the display and sales of firecrackers outside areas designated as vending sites by the city government.
Items sold outside the SRP will be confiscated. But Raquel Arce, head of the city market operations and demolition team, said no arrests will be made by Task Force Paboto whose members come from the police, fire department and treasurer’s office.
A portion of Pond F of the SRP beside the Sugbo building was opened Dec. 15 for 50 stalls as the designated vending site.
Vendors pay a registration fee of P3,000 to P15,000 depending on location for the right to sell until after the New Year’s Day./CHIEF OF REPORTERS DORIS C. BONGCAC, CORRESPONDENTS CHITO O. ARAGON, JHUNNEX NAPALLACAN AND GABRIEL C. BONJOC
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