Agencies eye lower firecracker-related incidents this year

BAGUIO CITY – Health authorities in the region are eying substantial decrease in firecracker-related incidents this year compared to the recorded incidents last year with the full cooperation of the public.

Dra. Amelita Pangilinan, assistant regional director of the Cordillera office of the Department of Health (DOH-CAR), said they are keeping their fingers crossed that the people were able to learn their lessons over the past several years relative to the use of firecrackers and pyrotechnic materials during the Yuletide revelry, thus, the firecracker-related incidents this year will likely decrease.

From December 21, 2015 to January 5, 2016 she noted there were 63 fireworks and firecracker-related incidents monitored in health facilities and other health-related facilities regionwide.

She added the recorded incidents were 10 percent lower than the 70 cases monitored for the same period the previous year. The highest decrease was in Mountain Province with only 1 case with an 84 percent reduction followed by Ifugao with 1 case and an 80 percent drop in firecracker-related incidents.

However, Baguio City recorded 11 cases for the said period which was a 22 percent increase compared to the 9 cases during the similar reckoning period last year.

Of the 63 recorded firecracker-related injuries, Panglinan revealed there were 61 fireworks-related incidents and 2 cases with still unknown cases.

The DOH-CAR official said most of the injured individuals came from Abra with 25 cases accounting for 40 percent of the total incidents regionwide followed by Apayao with 14 cases, Baguio City with 11 cases, Benguet with 9 cases, Kalinga with 2 cases and Mountain Province and Ifugao with 1 case each.

According to her, all three provinces, except for Baguio and Benguet and Kalinga, had reported decreases in the number of fireworks and firecracker-related injuries monitored as compared to the similar period last year.

According to her, majority of the injured individuals belong to the age group 3 to 10 years old with 30 cases and the median age was 11 while the youngest victim was 3 and the oldest was 59.

Based on the report, 54 individuals representing 86 percent of the injuries were described as active users, 6 individuals or 10 percent were under the influence of alcohol. 56 of those injured representing 89 percent were males while 7 persons accounting for 11 percent were females.

She recommended that local governments must continue implementing the Oplan Iwas Paputok campaign in their areas of responsibility, local governments must prohibit the use of pyrotechnic and firecrackers in residential areas with corresponding punitive actions for persons caught exploding and those causing injury to others, everybody must step up efforts to encourage the participation of the public, parents and children to find alternative ways of celebrating the Yuletide season without adding risk to their health, most especially the children, all concerned must refraim from using children in their fireworks-related activities and for the DOH and other agencies to continue lobbying for the total sale and use of firecrackers./By Dexter A. See#


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