ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanews/31 December) – The number of victims of firecracker-related incidents here has climbed to 13 as of Monday, New Year’s Eve, despite the advocacy campaign of the Department of Health (DOH) against the use of firecrackers in welcoming the New Year.
Dr. Romeo Ong, head of the government-run Zamboanga City Medical Center, said majority of the victims were children injured by piccolo, a banned item.
Ong said a nine-year-old boy almost lost his left eyesight after he was hit by a piccolo on December 26 in their neighborhood in Barangay Zambowood.
He said the boy was discharged on Sunday after he had fully recuperated.
He said the oldest among the 13 victims is a 47-year-old fishing boat crewmember identified as Franklin Arcillas, who was admitted on Sunday for treatment.
Ong said that Arcillas lost three fingers — thumb, index and middle — on his right hand.
Arcillas lit a “super lolo,” another banned item, and placed it in a sardine tin can.
Arcillas said he picked up the sardine tin can to check why the firecracker had not exploded but it did, eventually, severely injuring his right hand.
Ong said the ZCMC has been placed on “Code White Alert” to attend to emergency cases specifically victims of firecracker-related incidents during the New Year’s Eve revelry.. (Mindanews)