NINE persons suffered from firecracker-related injuries that were reported from the cities of Sagay, Kabankalan, and Esclante, as well as the towns of Pulupandan, Manapla, and Hinigaran.

Police Chief Inspector Rico Santotome Jr., spokesman of Negros Occidental Provincial Police office (Noppo), said most of the victims suffered burns and lacerations, while the lone victim from Manapla town, Sonny Cantancio, had two of his fingers amputated.

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In 2009, more than 100 persons suffered injuries due to firecrackers while one died in Bago City due to stray bullets, said Santotome.

Police Chief Inspector Jefferson Descallar of the Operations and Plans Branch of the Negros Occidental Police said the drastic drop in firecracker injuries in the province could be attributed to the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) aggressive "Oplan Iwas Paputok" campaign.

Several firecracker dealers and retailers were likewise arrested for violating Republic Act (RA) 7183 or the Firecrackers Law that led to the confiscation of an estimated P300,000 worth of banned pyrotechnics, including the banned firecracker "piccolo".

Not a single incident of indiscriminate firing and stray bullets were reported during the New Year’s Eve celebration, said Descallar.

In Cadiz City, hours before 2009 came to a close, seven stall owners selling firecrackers along Cabahug Street lost P550,000 worth of their wares after a fire caused by a wayward pyrotechnic razed their stalls.

Police Chief Inspector Noel Mana-ay, chief of the local police, identified the stall owners as Marina Saura, Rosana Rotante, Geraldine Estiola, Ramel Rotante, Noemi Dano-og, Ricardo Ramires and Marlene Balnaga-an.

Nobody was reported hurt during the conflagration, said Mana-ay.

Banned firecrackers were also confiscated in the cities of Bago, Talisay, Victorias, La Carlota and Kabankalan, while boxes of "piccolo" were likewise seized by the PNP in the towns of Hinigaran, Valladolid, Toboso, Ilog and La Castellana. (GMD)