DOH, PNP work to curb firecracker casualties

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LEGAZPI CITY: The Department of Health and the Philippine National Police are closely working to reduce firecracker victims here after Sorsogon and Albay posted the high rates of firecracker injuries a few days before New Year’s celebration.

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Gloria Balboa, DOH-CHD Bicol, told The Manila Times that as of December 27, the recorded firecracker-related injuries totaled 46 persons with the youngest victim a seven-year-old.

“We’re asking the people to celebrate New Year’s Day merrily without firecrackers as this could cause deadly tetanus to the victims. Based on our monitoring, piccolo is number one cause of injuries in Bicol so enforcement of the law should be strictly implemented by the authorities,” Balboa said.

The high firecracker injuries were reported in Sorsogon with nine cases followed by Albay, seven, Camarines Sur, four, Camarines Norte, three, Nava City, three, and Camarines Norte with one.

Balboa said the top 5 dangerous firecrackers in Bicol were piccolo, kwitis, bawang, lucis or lparklersm, 5-star and superlolo.

“Piccolo can be bought even in small sari-sari stores. Though there is no law banning the selling of firecrackers to minors it would be of great help if business establishments will not sell firecrackers to minors,” she said as health authorities are now pushing for this.

The DOH Bicol is on code white alert due to holiday seasons specifically this New Year celebration. Code, which means hospitals, must anticipate holiday-related injuries especially firecracker-related casualties.

The Health Emergency Management Staff (HEMS) Operations Center in Bicol is operating round-the-clock to monitor events related to the observance of holiday seasons here.

Government hospitals such as Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital in Legazpi City; Bicol Medical Center in Naga City and the Bicol Sanitarium in Cabusao Camarines Sur are also actively monitoring holiday-related injuries.

The PNP Bicol reported one incident of indiscriminate firing in Naga City.

As this developed, Governor Joey Sarte Salceda of Albay has issued an executive order aimed at achieving zero casualty in welcoming the year 2014 in the province of Albay as part of its Green Christmas program, which is on its fourth year now here.

Salceda’s order directed all job order or contractual employees to be terminated in office once caught lighting firecrackers on New Year’s Eve while for any permanent employee found doing so will also dealt with necessary punishment.

Similarly, elected local officials defying the “no paputok” order will be reprimanded. For the past three years, the provincial government of Albay implemented the “no firecracker” on Christmas and New Year’s Day in consonance with green Christmas and the zero casualty goal of the province during holiday seasons.

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