COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/01 January) — Despite an intensified campaign against the use of firearms in welcoming the New Year in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), guns were still fired, leaving four persons injured, two of them minors, the regional health department said Friday.
But Dr. Kadil Sinolinding Jr, ARMM health chief, said the campaign against the use of firecrackers in the ARMM provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi was successful in that “no single firecracker-related injury was reported in the region.”
“Sadly, we have stray bullets victims,” he said, citing three cases in Jolo, Sulu and one in Malabang, Lanao del Sur.
Sinolinding did not name the two minors, a 12-year old girl and a 13-year old boy.
The third victim in Jolo was identified as Nadzmier Jikiri, 32 whose leg was hit.
The 12 year old girl was hit on the right side of her head, just above her ear, Sinolinding said while the 13-year old boy’s legs were hit.
In Malabang, a 41-year-old male sustained multiple gunshot wounds in his arms.
In Region 12, 50 year old Yarkay Dimasingsing from Marquez, Poblacion Dos, Cotabato City suffered a leg wound after a stray bullet hit him while he was welcoming the new year with his family.
The Department of Health in Region 12 reported 63 persons injured by firecrackers during the Christmas and New Year’s celebration with “piccolo,” a band firecracker as the culprit.
Region 12 comprises the provinces of North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani and the cities of Cotabato, Kidapawan, General Santos, Koronadal and Tacurong.
“Piccolo” injuries account for about 90 percent of the injuries sustained by victims, said Jenny Ventura, DOH-12 officer in charge of “Iwas Paputok.”
She said data gathering on injuries sustained during the holidays will be until January 5. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera / MindaNews)