When significant is not enough-A A +A
Thursday, January 3, 2013
SECRETARY Enrique Ona of the Department of Health (DOH) has announced that the number of firecracker-related injuries has been reduced by 17 percent as compared to last year’s.
As per statistics of the Health department, the reduction is significant, nevertheless, not enough to consider that the welcoming of the New Year is not really happy for all. Some were made victims of firecrackers, some of stray bullets and some of stabbing incidents.
On the morning of the first day of the year, there were around 415 injuries reported since December 21, when people started to light firecrackers as one way of making merry the celebration of the yuletide and the incoming year.
A seven-year-old girl, Stephanie Nicole Ella of Caloocan City was only watching fireworks outside their home with her brother, cousins and other family members when she suddenly dropped to the ground with blood oozing from her face. She was rushed to the East Avenue Medical Center with a bullet lodged behind her left eye. It entered at the top of her head.
She was in deep coma and was hooked up on a respirator due to difficulty breathing on her own.
Nicole is a Grade 1 student who loves to dance the Gangnam Style. Ironically, the dance craze is one of the major gimmicks of the DOH in its campaign against firecrackers. The young child didn’t sustain injuries from her dance but from a stray bullet that was fired in the air and hit Nicole in the head in its flight back to the ground.
The one who fired the gun was so stupid that he forgot the law of gravity. In the first place, he shouldn’t have fired a gun during the raucous hours of the New Year’s Eve. Despite the government’s call not to fire guns, there are some hard-headed gun holders who cannot control their trigger fingers.
On Wednesday, Nicole lost her battle with death as she succumbed from a series of cardiac arrests brought about by the bullet in her head.
Another child, Ranjilo Nemer of Mandaluyong City who merely left their house to use the bathroom at his cousin’s house also died of gunshot wounds to his head and body last Monday. Ranjilo, who was only four, sought the permission of his father to go out of their house and use the bathroom of their neighbor-relative. He never came back.
The two children shouldn’t have died if not for some people who used guns irresponsibly and indiscriminately.
Those who were injured from firecracker explosions include a 17-year-old boy who lost his right hand from a “Goodbye Philippines” blast. He said goodbye to his hand after it was amputated.
Another victim of firecrackers lost his eyesight after being subjected to blasts in his face. Some suffered burns, cuts, bruises and poisoning due to firecrackers.
The 17 percent drop, taking it from the DoH’s statement, is still not enough. Perhaps their efforts including that of other government agencies should be further improved, including mass media campaign, the arrest of persons manufacturing prohibited firecrackers and the campaign against loose firearms and indiscriminate firing of guns, whether licensed or not.
Considering the fact that the government is campaigning against firecrackers and the illegal firing of guns during the New Year revelry for years now, the decrease in the number of “casualties” during the occasion is indeed not enough.
Television commercials that show victims of firecracker-related injuries should be aired for several days before the New Year to discourage those who might be risking their lives and limbs with pyrotechnic materials and guns. Year after year, there are always people who welcome the incoming year with injuries with some meeting their deaths.
Police authorities meanwhile should further strengthen its operations in apprehending manufacturers and sellers of prohibited firecrackers that are considered slightly less dangerous than explosive devices.
Nevertheless, the government, headed by the DOH, should be commended for doing their jobs even if there are still incidents of firecracker-related injuries and deaths.
We can just hope that our next welcoming of the New Year, the drop in the number of cases will still improve.
I wish everyone especially my readers a happy, prosperous and meaningful 2013.
For any comments, ideas, suggestions or opinions, text or call The Advocate at 09213636360 or send email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on January 04, 2013.