NEARLY 200 Filipinos were injured during the New year revelry despite the issuance by President Rodrigo Duterte of an executive order banning the use of powerful firecrackers.
The number is significantly lower than the number of injuries reported in the past five years.
The Department of Health’s Epidemiology bureau said 191 firecracker-related injuries were recorded in sentinel hospitals, 41 percent lower than the same period in 2016.
Majority of the cases — 115 were from Metro Manila. Of the 115, 63 cases were reported in Manila; 14 in Quezon City; 11 in Pasig; and six in Valenzuela.
Western Visayas recorded 15 cases; Calabarzon, Bicol Region and Central Visayas with 13 injuries.
The youngest victim was an 11-months old baby. The oldest was a 96-year-old man.
This year’s figure is 77 percent lower than the five-year average from 2012 to 2016.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque 3rd said they are pleased with the turnout of firecracker-related injuries recorded since the start of the surveillance period on December 21, 2017.
“I would say we are relatively pleased because of the substantial reduction or decrease in fireworks-related injuries from December 21, 2017, to January 1, 2018, compared to the same period of the previous year,” he said.
Illegal firecracker “Piccolo” remains was the top cause of the injuries, injuring 94. Other firecrackers used were “Boga,” “5-Star,” “Bazooka,” and “Triangle.”
In June last year, the President issued EO 28 which regulates the use of firecrackers. Under the order, firecrackers use will be limited to community fireworks displays to minimize the risk of injuries and casualties.
Duque said so far, no deaths from firecracker-related incidents have been reported.
Police arrested a retired Army personnel and one on active duty in New Lower Bicutan, Taguig City for indiscriminate firing on New Year’s Eve.
A boy and a girl, both10-years-old, were injured after they were hit by stray bullets after a shooting incident between two men in their neighborhood shortly after midnight on Monday in Caloocan City.
Chief Supt. Tomas Apolinario, chief of the Southern Police District (SPD), identified the two arrested Army personnel as retired Staff Sgt. Jamael Mindalano and Corporal Richard John Quijano, who is on active service at the Light Reaction Regiment of the Special Operations Command.
Apolinario said the two reportedly fired at their neighbor, Jolly Moreno, while welcoming the New Year.
Recovered from the suspects were two caliber 45 pistols, one 9mm pistol, one .38 revolver and assorted ammunition.
“While the Philippine Army has no jurisdiction over the retired Mindalano, Corporal Quijano may face criminal charges, dishonorable separation from the service and forfeiture of all his privileges and retirement benefits if found guilty,” Lt. Col. Ray Tiongson, Philippine Army spokesman said in a statement.
“The Army has strict regulations against illegal discharge of firearms and other infractions of the Articles of War,” he added.
Meanwhile, Joven Earl Gaces and Princess Denise Cruz were hit by stray bullets after two men engaged in a shootout in their neighborhood.
Gaces underwent surgical operation for a bullet wound in the shoulder that penetrated his abdomen at the Jose Reyes Memorial and Medical Hospital (JRMMH) while Cruz was confined at the Tondo General Hospital for treatment of a bullet wound in the body.
One of the two men who engaged in the shootout, Gil Calupaz, 27, sustained bullet wounds and was rushed to JRMMH while the other gunman, Isagani Ancheta, 38, was arrested by authorities after he was mauled by bystanders.
A witness who requested anonymity said Calupaz and his friends were having a drinking session at the corner of Block 2 and Block 3, Sawata Road when Ancheta arrived and confronted the victim who allegedly used to bully him.
A heated argument led to a fistfight until Calupaz was able to strangle Ancheta but when the latter was able to free himself, he pulled out his gun and opened fire hitting Calupaz and the two children who were playing nearby.
Police recovered from the arrested suspect a caliber .9mm Glock pistol with defaced serial number while several pieces of empty shells were recovered from the crime scene.
DEMPSEY REYES AND JING VILLAMENTE