WATUSI may be considered one of the deadliest illegal firecrackers in the country but a similarly banned pyrotechnic device is killing and hurting more people.

In a news briefing at The Mansion, Health Secretary Francisco Duque announced that almost half of the 127 firecracker-related injuries for 2009 were all due to piccolo, a firecracker that works like a matchstick and emits a loud explosion.

For updates from around the country, follow Sun.Star on Twitter

In previous years, piccolo remained to be a leading cause of injuries, the secretary announced.

Those in the National Capital Region recorded the highest number of injuries with 73 cases, 13 in Region I and IX and Region IV-A, the rest is distributed in the different regions.

The decrease in cases has been minimal. From 137 in 2008, injuries went down to 128.

Duque reiterated his call for the public to stop using firecrackers, albeit a standing recommendation from his department for local government units (LGUs) to consider banning firecrackers.

He said moves to ban should be gradual and comprehensive in a manner that alternatives should be given to those who depend on firecracker production for livelihood.

“Banning is not simple. Livelihood should be available once factories shut down,” Duque said.

In the Cordillera, about 17 firecracker-related injuries were reported.

In the December 21 to 27 data of the DOH-Cordillera, Bangued has the highest number of injuries with eight, followed by Baguio four, Tayum, Abra three and Kiangan, Ifugao and Pidigan, Abra with one each. Of the 17 cases, 14 used piccolo, one used pla-pla, one 5-star and another one with watusi. (Rimaliza Opiña)