Firecracker-related injuries jump to 933

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Friday, January 3, 2014

FIRECRACKER-related injuries stemming from the New Year revelry have soared to 933 and already broke last year's record based on the Department of Health's (DOH) latest report.

DOH spokesman Dr. Eric Tayag said that the 914 injuries came from firecracker blasts while two others were results of firecracker ingestion.

In his Twitter account, Tayag said that 354 or 39 percent of the injuries were caused by the notorious "piccolo," one of the firecrackers outlawed by Philippine authorities.

Tayag said that this year's record already surpassed last year's with only 919 recorded from December 16, 2012 up to January 5, 2013.

Despite the high casualty figures, the DOH official claimed that the health department's Iwas Paputok program was successful.

The Philippine National Police (PNP), on the other hand, reported that the toddler who was hit by a stray bullet in the forehead during the New Year festivities died in a hospital in Ilocos Norte on Thursday.

Senior Superintendent Wilben Mayor, PNP spokesman, said that Rhanz Angelo Corpuz, 2, died around 3:30 p.m. Thursday at the intensive care unit of the Laoag City General Hospital in Ilocos Norte.

Corpuz was hit by a bullet on his forehead while sleeping inside the family's house in San Nicolas town, hours before 2014.

Mayor said that Chief Inspector Dominic Guerrero, San Nicolas police chief, already invited for questioning two persons in connection with the indiscriminate firing.

Meanwhile, four men were also invited for questioning and initial investigation in relation to another stray bullet incident that killed three-month-old boy Von Alexander LLagas in Ilocos Sur.

Mayor said that Ilocos Sur PNP has created an investigating task force to probe the shooting of Llagas who was hit in the head by a stray bullet while sleeping beside his father inside the family's home.

Investigators are looking into the possibility that the bullet that hit Llagas came from a gun fired from within 100 meters from the victim's house.

Ilocos Sur Governor Ryan Singson offered a P250,000 reward for any information leading to the identification and arrest of the suspect.

The PNP noted that based on the comparative figures on the previous New Year's Eve celebration, the PNP has only recorded 28 cases of stray bullets from December 16, 2013 to January 2, 2014. The figures are lower compared to the 40 cases recorded in same period last year.

Alarmed over reports of children who have been victims of indiscriminate celebratory shootings during the past holiday season, Senator Nancy Binay called on the PNP on Friday to impose stricter gun control.

Binay said the PNP should come up with a comprehensive profiling of gun owners who either own registered or loose firearms and conduct community-based investigations and audit to check on holders of unlicensed and home-made ordnances.

"I do hope that the ongoing investigations would yield the possible suspects of the crimes and that they would be made to answer for the crime as soon as possible," she added.

The senator and her father, Vice President Jejomar Binay, visited indigent patients at the Philippine General Hospital in Manila on January 1, where a victim of stray-bullet shooting was being given medical care. (Sunnex)

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