• Don’t use firecrackers, DOH urges revelers

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    Want to create some noise on Christmas and the New Year? Go ahead but just stay away from firecrackers.

    This is the message that the Department of Health (DOH) gave to partygoers and revelry makers as it launched on Thursday its Mahalaga ang Buhay, Iwasan ang Paputok (Life is Valuable, Stay Away from Firecrackers) campaign this year.

    Acting Health Secretary Janette Loreto-Garin said there are plenty of ways to celebrate and be merry this season without opting for loud but dangerous firecracker explosions.

    “Mahalaga ang buhay [Life is valuable]. It is not worth risking or losing lives and limbs,” she said.

    Garin noted that the DOH recorded 1,018 fireworks-related injuries during the holiday season last year, which is nine percent higher compared to that of 2012.

    The 2013 figures came from 50 sentinel surveillance hospitals, gathered from December 21, 2013 to January 5, 2014.

    Bulk of the cases came from the National Capital Region (NCR) or Metro Manila (587), Calabarzon (80), Western Visayas (73) and Ilocos (65).

    Of these figures, 51 percent were males, with ages ranging from six to 15 years old.

    In the NCR, Manila and Quezon City registered the most number of cases with 215 and 130, respectively.

    Of the 1,018 cases recorded, 997 resulted from fireworks injuries, 19 from stray bullets and two from firecracker ingestion. At least one died after sustaining multiple injuries from explosions while 25 went through amputations.

    Also, Garin identified these firecrackers as causing the most injuries: piccolo (38 percent), kwitis (11 percent), five-star (5 percent) and plapla (4 percent). The sale of piccolo, five-star and plapla are prohibited in the country.

    She encouraged the public to use alternative noisemakers to welcome the New Year like blowing torotot (horn), honking car horns and playing loud music. Activities such as street parties, concerts and parlor games with family members are also good alternatives to doing firecrackers.

    “Mahalaga ang buhay. ‘Wag hayaang masayang ito dahil lamang sa paputok [Life is valuable. Don’t waste this for firecrackers),” Garin said.

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