Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

720 firecracker injury cases

IN OLONGAPO City, only one firecracker-related injury was recorded during the New Year's revelry. Reason: The local government unit declared as illegal the selling and use of any form of firecracker within the city.

Initial reports over the weekend placed the firecracker and stray bullet injuries at 630. Monday's figure was almost a hundred higher.

The cases involved only children and adults who had been taken to hospitals for treatment of their injuries. Those who resorted to self-treatment and self-medication are not part of the statistics.

The 720 cases have been recorded by the Department of Health's National Epidemiology Center as of last Sunday.

While cases of firecracker and stray bullet-related injuries in Central Luzon were placed by the DOH at 38, the regional police recorded 121 cases.

Perhaps a more comprehensive recording system, which will include those treated by private hospitals and clinics, is necessary to reflect the real statistics. Purok or sitio chairmen and barangay captains can also provide facts and figures.

Olongapo City, led by Mayor James Gordon, is among the major cities to have banned the sale and use of firecrackers in its bid to prevent revelry-related injuries.

Davao City, under Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, has been strictly implementing the ban since 2002 after the City Council, through an ordinance, prohibited the manufacture, sale, distribution, possession and use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices in the highly progressive city.

Do we expect the City of San Fernando, Angeles City, or other urbanized localities in Pampanga to follow suit? I don't really know. I guess only Mayor Dennis Pineda and his councilors can or will do that. And the other mayors? Perhaps we should give them the benefit of the doubt. Let's see if they have enough political will to make a la Duterte or Gordon stance against firecrackers and the pollution and injuries they cause.

Last Saturday, Sun.Star Davao reported that 43 persons were imprisoned for defying Davao City's ban on all types of firecrackers and pyrotechnics.

Even China, probably the birthplace of firecrackers, particularly the capital city of Beijing, has banned for more than a decade now the use of firecrackers as festive yet often dangerous way of celebrating the coming of the Lunar New Year. The ban was first implemented way back in 1993.

Prior to holidays, it has become normal for Chinese authorities to send text messages to cell phone subscribers reminding them of the firecracker ban.

If Olongapo and Davao folks can do it and the Chinese people, who have brought to the Philippines the tradition of using firecrackers during revelry, can celebrate their New Year minus the "bangers' for safety reasons, I don't see why Kapampangans cannot do the same.

Malaysia (since 1991) and Sweden (since 2000) have already declared as illegal the manufacture, sale and use of firecrackers.  By Jun A. Malig - SunStar

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