Fireworks injuries soar

MANILA — Two days before the New Year’s Eve celebration, the Department of Health (DOH) said yesterday the number of fireworks-related injuries (FRIs) continues to soar as it now nears the 200 mark.

In his twitter account, Health Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag said that as of 6 a.m. yesterday, 198 FRIs had already been recorded.

He said the list included 192 fireworks-related injuries, a single case of firecracker ingestion, and five incidents of stray bullet injuries.

Despite being declared an illegal firecracker, piccolo remains the top leading cause of FRIs, accounting for 119 or 62 percent of the total incidents.

Tayag said most of these incidents happened in Manila with 24 cases, followed by Quezon City with seven cases and Mandaluyong City with six cases.

He said the number of recorded FRIs for the period was higher compared to that of last year.

“In 2012 same period total FW (fireworks)-related injuries was 179,” Tayag said.

He said the number of firecracker ingestion remained unchanged, while stray bullet injuries slightly increased from the three recorded cases last year for the same period.

No Total Firecrackers’ Ban

Meanwhile, the House leadership is not yet convinced that there is a need to pass a measure seeking to impose a total ban on the use of firecrackers.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said they do not see the need to approve such a law amid the increasing number of firecrackers-related injuries reported by the DOH.

“But firecrackers beyond a certain explosive power should be banned and penalized,” he said.

He noted that compared to previous years, “there has been a marked decrease in firecracker injuries.”

For his part, Deputy Majority Leader and Citizens Battle against Corruption (CIBAC) party-list Rep. Sherwin Tugna, who hails from firecracker-producing province of Bulacan, expressed concern that imposing a total ban on the use of firecrackers would kill the country’s fireworks and firecrackers industry.

“It will be unconstitutional and unfair to Filipinos whose livelihood for generations has been the fireworks and small firecrackers industry. What we need is good regulation, not a total prohibition that includes small firecrackers,” he said.

Stricter Penalties

Ifugao Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat also agreed with his colleagues, saying that instead of banning the use of firecrackers, stricter penalties should be slapped against those producing and selling ‘explosive’ firecrackers.

“If ever there will be a ban, it should not be absolute. Maybe a municipal-sanctioned fireworks display that would make up for the lack of fireworks and could be organized per town or barangay for Christmas and New Year. We ban retail or individual sale of powerful fireworks, except for regulated fireworks show in barangays,” he said.

“ I doubt the total ban is viable because the law would go against the grain of culture of Christmas or New Year cheer for the Philippines,” he said.