Firecracker ban in Baguio, Cordillera a failure-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Friday, January 4, 2013
THE widespread campaign from various agencies to ban firecrackers in Baguio and the Cordillera turned out unsuccessful, with the Health department receiving more reports of firecracker-related injuries.
Initial reports as of the evening of January 1 of a 35 percent decrease of firecracker injuries in the region was overturned in a matter of days, as the Department of Health (DOH)-Cordillera received additional reports from the provinces.
DOH-Cordillera assistant regional director Dr. Amelita Pangilinan said in a press conference Thursday that they were disappointed with the additional reports of injuries, adding efforts to enforce firecracker bans were still disregarded by the public.
As of 6 a.m. Thursday, an additional 20 firecracker victims were reported to DOH’s monitoring division, as the injury list rose to 54 cases, higher by two cases compared to last year’s 52 cases.
Four areas reported increases in their fireworks-related injuries. These include Baguio City with 15 cases, Benguet with seven cases, Apayao with four and Ifugao with three cases.
Cases in Abra decreased, with 18 victims recorded. The province, however, remains to have the highest number of affected victims, while Kalinga decreased to only three cases reported this year.
Mt. Province remained the same with four cases last year.
Baguio’s cases, which initially posted a decrease in fireworks-related injuries, rose to 15, compared to last year’s 13 cases.
Aksyon Paputok Injury Reduction coordinator Elnoria Bugnosen said they will continue to continue to receive reports from the provinces until Friday, which means the number of injured persons may still increase.
Pangilinan said some of the victims in Baguio are those who used illegal firecrackers that were either sold clandestinely within the city, or bought from other areas. These firecrackers range from piccolo, baby rocket and kwitis.
In the Cordillera, 46 victims suffered from blast burns, while five suffered from eye injuries.
Meanwhile, two children in Abra aged seven and eight years old, had blast injuries in their hands that led to amputations.
Majority of the firecracker blast victims were children aged six to 12 years old. Majority of them were males, numbering 46, while eight were females.
Aside from piccolo, plapla and kwitis, other fireworks that also caused injuries were fountains, mother rocket, five star, whistle bomb, three-star, baby rocket, and dragon firework that was allowed by the City Government, claiming it is a safe aerial firework.
Pangilinan said effort to ban not only firecrackers but all kinds of pyrotechnics is the only way to remove the bane of yearly injuries.
She advised the local governments to not only announce bans but strictly enforce them.
Meanwhile, Police Regional Office–Cordillera Director Benjamin Magalong said the campaign against indiscriminate firing continues to improve, but added they have monitored indiscriminate firing in Baguio City and Abra.
He said law enforcers have sealed their service weapons, ensuring stray bullet incidents do not come from their ranks.
The DOH reported a 13-year-old boy from Tabuk city is the lone stray bullet victim in the region.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 04, 2013.