Issue of January 10, 2021
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DOH records four firecracker injuries
by Jane B. Cadalig

The Cordillera’s youngest victim of firecracker-related injuries during the Yuletide celebrations used an illegal item, prompting the Department of Health to call for heightened vigilance against the continued accessibility of illegal firecrackers.

The DOH-Cordillera recorded four cases of firecracker-related injuries from Dec. 21, 2020 to Jan. 5, which is 18 cases or 82 percent lower than those recorded from Dec. 21, 2019 to Jan. 5, 2020.

The youngest victim – an eight-year-old boy from Apayao – used piccolo, a banned item.

Two of those injured were victims of “boga,” an improvised PVC cannon, which is also illegal. One of them is a passive user, which means he was not the one who lit the firework.
The other victim, a 74-year-old male, used “kwitis,” a legal firework.

No deaths, no firework ingestions, and no victims of stray bullets were recorded in the region.

The four cases were recorded in Bangued, Abra; Luna, Apayao; Alfonso Lista, Ifugao; and Paracelis, Mountain Province.

DOH-Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit Head Geeny Austria said while injuries due to firecracker use dropped drastically, the continued access to illegal items and the use of improvised fireworks remain a challenge.

“We are happy that cases in the region have decreased, but it is unfortunate that there are still people who have access to illegal firecrackers and some still improvise fireworks,” she said.

Austria said the DOH was hoping for zero firecracker-related injury during the holiday celebrations as society is reeling from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the goal remains a challenge due to the continued use of improvised items and access to banned firecrackers.

She added investigation is ongoing to determine how the eight-year-old victim from Apayao accessed the piccolo that injured his hands.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government earlier enjoined local government units, the Philippine National Police, and the Bureau of Fire Protection to take necessary actions on the regulation and control of the use of firecracker and other pyrotechnic devices during the holiday season.

Lt/Col. Marcial Fa-ed, Police Regional Office Cordillera Regional Community Affairs Development Division assistant chief, said police in the region have confiscated illegal firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices that were sold in unauthorized outlets.

He added there are no incidents of illegal discharge of firearm among uniformed personnel.

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