Hospitals in the Philippines were put on “Code White Alert” for New Year’s celebrations in preparation for the usual large number of fireworks injuries that occur each year.

Today, The Department of Health said more Filipinos were spared of firework-related injuries as the country welcomed the New Year with fewer firecrackers in families’ homes, and the cooperation of some Local Government Units (LGUs) to organize public firework displays.

Image/Howard the Duck
Image/Howard the Duck

“We would like to extend our gratitude for the support of other national agencies, the local government, non-government organizations, and the media during the anti-firecracker campaigns. Every year, we see the things that we need to strengthen in order to achieve our goal, and eventually, we do hope that we will attain zero casualties from fireworks/firecrackers during the holidays.” Health Secretary Janette P. Loreto-Garin said.

As of 6:00 AM, January 1, 2016, a total of 384 fireworks-related injuries were recorded by DOH sentinel sites. This is 506 cases (57%) lower than the five-year (2010-2014) average and 430 (53%) lower compared to the same time period last year. Of the total 384 cases, 380 were from fireworks/firecrackers, 4 from stray bullets, and no case of fireworks/firecrackers ingestion.

Two hundred nineteen (219) out of three hundred eighty (380) injuries were caused by Piccolo, a prohibited firecracker in the country. Other firecrackers causing injuries were from 5 star (4%), Kwitis (9%), Luces (4%), and other unknown firecrackers (5%).

Most fireworks-related injuries came from the National Capital Region (NCR) with 243 cases (63%), followed by Region 5 with 31 cases (8%), and Region 4A with 27 cases (7%). In NCR, most cases were from Manila with 73 out of 243 cases (30%), 46 cases (19%) were from Quezon City and 28 (12%) cases from Marikina. Majority of cases, are less than 14 years old (64%).

At least one fatality was recorded as an intoxicated man was killed by the powerful firecracker “Goodbye Philippines” which he embraced as it exploded killing him.

In addition, a Tondo slum area was set ablaze after a rocket started a fire that destroyed some 1000 shanties displacing thousand of families.

Last week during Christmas celebrations, a 9 year old girl from Bulacan on Christmas day due to indiscriminate firing. The said victim was playing near Ipo Dam when she was hit in the back by a stray bullet on December 24 2015. When she arrived home, her parents saw her bleeding. She was admitted to East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City where she underwent surgical procedure but died on December 25.

“We strongly condemn the loss of life of an innocent child. This should have not happened if only gun owners are responsible. There are many ways to celebrate the holidays and firing guns indiscriminately is definitely not an option.” Health Secretary Janette P. Loreto-Garin said.