Aquino wishes for safe, happy 2014

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

MANILA -- President Benigno Aquino III appealed to the public on Sunday to make sure they welcome 2014 in a safe but happy manner.

The appeal was aired through Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. in an interview on state-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

“The President’s appeal is to have a safe and happy New Year,” Coloma said.

But he also said more than 1,800 hospitals nationwide, including those run by the government, are preparing to accommodate revelry-related injuries.

Coloma said the appropriate government agencies had already aired warnings against the use of harmful fireworks to welcome the New Year.

Yet, he lamented many Filipinos who defied the warnings and insisted on using such fireworks ended up wounded or even dead.

“We want to avoid such incidents. We want to welcome 2014 on a safe and happy note,” he said.

Sanctions, meanwhile, await law enforcers who will needlessly fire their weapons to welcome the New Year, Coloma said Sunday.

He said this is aside from the Philippine National Police (PNP) securing areas where people converge.

Coloma said the muzzles of firearms of some 148,000 police personnel had been taped to prevent them from firing the weapons indiscriminately during the New Year revelry.


“After the New Year celebration, the chiefs of police will inspect the firearms and see who violated the rule, and will mete appropriate sanctions,” Coloma said.

On the other hand, Coloma said the PNP under Director General Alan Purisima is taking added steps to secure areas of convergence.

He said police are now on heightened alert and are patrolling public areas like parks, churches, airports and transport terminals, as well as malls.

The Department of Health (DOH), meanwhile, said firecracker-related injuries ahead of the New Year revelry is now almost 200 and majority of them are caused by the illegal scratch banger, Piccolo.

Based on Aksyon: Paputok Injury Reduction (Apir) Report No. 8 of the DOH, there are a total of 198 fireworks-related injuries as of 6 a.m., December 29.

11 percent higher

“The figure is 11 percent higher compared to the same period last year, which was at 179,” said the DOH report.

The DOH also said that a total of 192 injuries were caused by firecrackers and fireworks, led by the 119 (62 percent) caused by Piccolo.

Piccolo is commonly used by children aged less than 10 years old, owing to its being low-priced and easiness to use since it only needs to be scratched in a rough surface for it to be ignited and explode.

This is despite Piccolo being among the declared illegal firecrackers.

Other illegal firecrackers are Atomic Big Triangulo and Super Lolo and their equivalents, Lolo Thunder, Bawang (large), Pla-pla, Watusi, Kwiton, Giant Whistle, Judas Belt (large), Og, Atomic Bomb, Goodbye Philippines, and Kabas.

Because of this, DOH spokesman Dr. Eric Tayag reminded parents to watch their children closely to prevent them from using firecrackers, especially Piccolo.

Watchful eyes

“Children that were injured most likely used Piccolo. Parents should remind their children not to use these firecrackers and to stay away from places where firecrackers are exploding,” said Tayag.

Other top injury causes are unknown firecrackers (12), kwitis (12), 5 star (8), and boga (7).

A total of 170 (89 percent) of those injured had sustained blast injuries not requiring amputation while two (1 percent) had blast injuries needing amputation.

There are no new cases of stray bullet injuries as well as firecracker ingestion and remained at five and one, respectively.

The DOH also reported that there remain to be no death from fireworks-related injuries ahead of the New Year revelry. (PNA/HDT/Sunnex)

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