GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/01 January) — Twelve persons were separately rushed to the district hospital here shortly before New Year’s Eve, two due to injuries caused by firecrackers and 10 due to vehicular accidents.
A report from the City Integrated Health Services Office (CIHSO) said a resident of Barangay Batomelong identified as Albert Sago, 21, sustained serious injuries on his mouth due to a firecracker explosion.
The victim, who was reportedly intoxicated, picked up and swallowed a “five star” firecracker that he supposedly thought was a dud but eventually exploded.
The report said the victim almost lost all his teeth due to the explosion.
The CIHSO said the second firecracker victim, identified as Jonas Enok of Purok Malok in Barangay Labangal, sustained injuries on his hands after he also picked up a firecracker that initially did not explode.
Enok was also listed as intoxicated when the incident happened before midnight on Saturday.
Aside from the two firecracker injuries, 10 persons were brought for treatment at the city district hospital on Saturday evening due to vehicular accidents mostly involving single motorcycles.
The CIHSO led by City Health Officer Edgardo Sandig earlier launched an intensified campaign against the use of firecrackers during the Christmas and New Year revelries as part of the Department of Health’s (DOH) Aksyon: Paputok Injury Reduction (APIR) drive.
But the selling and use of firecrackers, especially items that were considered illegal, still persisted in the city during the last two weeks.
As of Saturday, DOH officials in Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao said they have listed 19 firecracker-related injuries in the region since the Christmas season started last month.
Dr. Abdullah Dumama, DOH-Region 12 director, noted that the recorded cases included a two-year-old girl who accidentally swallowed a sparkler.
Dumama said South Cotabato recorded the highest number of initial firecracker-related injuries in the region with 12 followed by Cotabato City with three, General Santos City with two and one each from Kidapawan City and Sultan Kudarat province.
On Friday, police personnel here destroyed several sacks of firecrackers and pyrotechnics that were confiscated in several raids in the city.
Senior Supt. Cedric Train, city police director, said most of the seized firecrackers and pyrotechnics came from illegally established stalls inside the city central public market and other parts of the city.
He said the selling of firecrackers and pyrotechnics was allowed only in the city’s oval plaza, which was earlier designated as the city’s firecracker zone. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)