“We had zero injuries in 2018,” said Dr. Donnabel Tubera-Panes of the Health Service Office (HSO) during the launch of “Oplan Iwas Paputok” on Tuesday.
Baguio recorded three cases of fireworks and pyrotechnics injuries in 2017 --a substantial drop in previous years since the city government started to ban the sale of firecrackers in 2015 via an Administrative Order of then-mayor Mauricio Domogan.
In 2016, the same was again adopted by the city through an Administrative Order and the years after in compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order 28 - 2017 providing for the regulation and control of the use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices.
The city government has been organizing a community fireworks display at Burnham Park for people to enjoy the New Year's Day revelry.
Tubera-Panes said the drop in cases of firecracker-related injuries is attributed to the different policies of the city, which they hope will be reduced to an ordinance.
She said they will be doing the monitoring of firecracker-related cases from December 21 to January 5 next year.
Based on DOH data in December 2018, there were 24 local government units (LGUs) in the region that have passed ordinances, banning the sale and use of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices.
They are Asipulo, Banaue, Hingyon, Kiangan, Lamut, and Mayoyao in Ifugao province; Kibungan, Sablan, Mankayan, Bakun, Bokod, and Buguias in Benguet province; Tabuk City and the towns of Rizal, Balbalan, Tinglayan, Lubuagan, and Pasil in Kalinga province; and Bauko, Sabangan, Besao, Sagada, Tadian and Bontoc in Mountain Province.
In the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) Dr. Jennifer-Joyce Pira of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) said based on the monitoring during the holidays in 2018, there were 10 cases recorded in Abra and two each in Apayao and Ifugao provinces--for a total of 14 cases.
Pira said the injuries were caused by “kwitis” and “boga” (improvised cannon), with most of the victims being passive users or the passers-by.
CAR recorded a total of 22 cases of firecracker injuries in 2017 and 70 cases in 2014.
The health officials attributed the drop in cases of firecracker-related injuries to the change in the mindset of the people, who opt not to use firecrackers and pyrotechnics in greetings the holidays.
They said people are now turning to alternative noisemakers, such as "torotot" (toy trumpets), to welcome the new year.
Meanwhile, personnel of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC), the biggest tertiary hospital in the region has assured the residents of its readiness.
Nurse Venus Ann Charangan assigned at the emergency room of BGHMC said all supplies are ready in case of an emergency situation due to an injury from the use of firecrackers and pyrotechnics.
She said all personnel assigned at the ER during the season have been advised to always be on call and on standby in cases their services are needed. (PNA)
By Liza Agoot