• Teen hit by stray bullet in coma

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    Emilyn Calano, 15, was watching a fireworks display in her neighborhood in Malabon City when a stray bullet hit her in the head.

    Her aunt, who was standing several meters away, saw the teenager collapse and rushed to help.

    Emilyn’s mother Merluin said they only found out that the teenager was hit by a bullet when she was taken to the hospital.

    The bullet was lodged in the teenager’s head. She is now in a coma.

    Dr. Emmanuel Montaña, director of the Jose Reyes Medical Center where Emilyn is confined, said removing the bullet may cause more damage to her brain.

    Health Secrtary Paulyn Jean Ubial visited Emilyn at the hospital on Sunday to ensure that she being attended well.

    A BULLET IN THE HEAD Emelyn fights for her life at the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center. PHOTO BY BOB DUNGO JR.

    A BULLET IN THE HEAD Emelyn fights for her life at the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center. PHOTO BY BOB DUNGO JR.

    Merluin said Emilyn, a grade eight student at the Saint James Academy, tends to her siblings in the morning while her parents sell fish in the market. Merluin hopes that the gunman will surrender.

    Emilyn is one of four victims of stray bullets during the New Year revelry.

    Ubial said there was a remarkable decline in the number of firecracker injuries because people fear that they will be punished.

    The Philippines indulges in an annual orgy of New Year’s Eve merrymaking that leaves hundreds maimed as people set off firecrackers and fire guns in the air in a loud and raucous overnight celebration.

    But injuries during this year’s revelry were the lowest in 10 years after Duterte said he was considering repeating a ban on firecrackers which he implemented when mayor of his southern home town of Davao.

    “People are now afraid to light firecrackers because of the president,” Ubial said.

    “They have this impression that somehow they will get caught or they will be punished.”

    Ubial said 350 were injured by firecrackers and fireworks this year compared to a 10-year average of 1,000.

    Duterte last month said he would issue an order to ban people from using firecrackers, limiting their use to community fireworks displays.

    “The least that I can say or do is just to issue a warning that it’s very, very dangerous,” he said pending the order’s release.

    The President said he was concerned about children, who make up most of the victims.

    Ubial said the trend continued this year, with a three-year-old suffering a hand injury in Cabanatuan.

    “Even if it’s now down to 350 (injuries), that is still a lot of misery.”

    Although the number of victims was significantly down, Ubial said the figures will change because the surveillance on firecracker-related injuries will end on January 5.

    Most of the cases were from National Capital Region (NCR) with 211. Manila had the highest number of incidents with 81, followed by Quezon City with 48, and Marikina, 23.

    Piccolo did the most damage, injuring 132.

    Majority of the victims were children aged 15 and below.

    WITH AFP REPORT

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