GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/26 December) — Health authorities have recorded nine firecracker and fireworks-related injuries in the run-up to the Christmas Eve and during the Christmas Day celebrations in this city and nearby South Cotabato province.
Eight of the victims, three of them children, came from Koronadal City and other areas in South Cotabato while only one came from this city.
The City Integrated Health Services Office (CIHSO) here identified the lone victim as nine year-old Ramon Fabular, who was treated as an out-patient at the General Santos City Hospital.
Dr. Mely Lastimoso, CIHSO’s epidemiology and surveillance unit chief, said the victim sustained minor burns due to an ill-lit fountain-type firework during the Christmas Eve revelries.
In South Cotabato, Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) chief Dr. Rogelio Aturdido said Wednesday the recorded injuries were based on their monitoring in the last five days on various private and government hospitals in the province’s 10 towns and lone city.
He said four of the victims were brought to the South Cotabato Provincial Hospital in Koronadal City following the Christmas Eve celebration.
A hospital report identified the victims as Christopher Callado, Raniel Galido, Rey Gallardo and Peter Paul Palacio.
“One of them lost a finger while the others sustained lacerations and minor burns,” Aturdido said in a radio interview.
The official said piccolo, which is a banned firecracker, caused anew most of the injuries, especially among the children.
Last year, 27 of the 54 total firecracker and fireworks-related injuries recorded during the Christmas and New Year’s Eve revelries in the province were also caused by piccolo.
Owing to this, Aturdido urged anew residents to shun from buying and using any firecracker or firework in the upcoming New Year’s Eve celebration.
“Let’s all focus on making sure that we’re healthy, injury-free and with all our fingers still intact as we enter the New Year,” he said.
The IPHO earlier launched the Department of Health’s (DOH) “Aksyon: Paputok Injury Reduction” or APIR in the area to highlight its campaign against the use of firecrackers and fireworks.
The campaign reiterates the DoH’s Oplan Iwas Paputok that was started in 1994 to monitor the use of firecrackers, particularly from December 21 to January 4, as well as to minimize the morbidity and mortality from firecracker and firework injuries. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)