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TURNOVER CEREMONY. Outgoing regional director Ma. Gloria A. Tango (2nd from right) and assistant regional director Joel M. Gonzales (rightmost) of Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) 12 handed the ISO certification to incoming regional director Chona M. Mantilla and assistant regional director Yahya “Yang” A. Centi on January 30, 2012 during the turnover of command of DOLE 12. Mantilla assumes as regional director on February 1. (DED/RTLacibal/PIA12)

PIA Press Release
Thursday, January 05, 2012

Firecracker-related injuries in S. Cotabato, 54


Dani Doguiles

KORONADAL CITY, Jan. 5 (PIA) -- Despite massive information drive, firecracker –related injuries during the yuletide season in South Cotabato increased this year, a health official confirmed.

Data from the Integrated Provincial Health Office indicated that as of 2:00 p.m. on January 3, IPHO’s surveillance unit has already monitored 54 blast injuries, 18 persons more compared to the number of cases in 2011.

“We cannot deny the fact that our massive campaign had no effect on the public,” Dr. Salvecio Dagang, chief of IPHO’s technical division replied when asked if their Aksyon Paputok Injury Reduction (APIR) program failed. “Our objective is zero injury, unfortunately we had 54 cases of firecracker-related injuries.”

Of the 54 injured 24 were children 10 years old and below. The report indicated the youngest victim was 5 years old while the oldest was 72 years old.

Piccolo remains the major cause of injuries, accounting for 27 cases.

This year, the top three LGUs concerning most number of firecracker-related injuries were Koronadal City with 15, Norala town, 10, and Surallah town, 9.

The towns of Tupi and T’boli reported 6 and 5 cases, respectively.

“So far, we have no reported amputations but we have four cases of eye injuries,” Dr. Dagang said.

Of the total number 50 were blast injuries and burns.

“It’s really alarming,” he said, “that despite our massive efforts to campaign against use of firecrackers which began as early as the first week of December, we still have this number of injuries,” he said.

He added, as far as the DOH and IPHO are concerned, they have done their best in reminding the public to refrain from use of firecrackers during the celebrations.

Dagang as well as Provincial Administrator and Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) head Isidro Janita, implied that the increasing number of firecracker-related injuries could be due to “weak” implementation of law on part of local government units.

Political will in implementing Republic Act 7183 (Act Regulating the Sale, Manufacture, Distribution and Use of Firecrackers and Other Pyrotechnic Devices) has been lacking, Dagang said.

Janita, on the other hand said that local government units of South Cotabato should follow the example of Davao City which has been successful in achieving very minimal cases of blast injuries with the implementation of total ban of any form of firecrackers.

“I strongly support the move of DOH and the DENR for a total ban in firecrackers,” he said. “If this can be successfully done in Davao City, then it is also possible [in South Cotabato].”

The provincial government should pass a resolution or an ordinance banning firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices, he said.

Dagang said he is also concerned with the persistent problem of parents allowing their children to handle and even light firecrackers, considering that almost half of the victims are children below 10 years old and added that he also supports the suggestion to penalize parents whose children are wounded by firecracker blast.

IPHO’s monitoring of firecracker-related injuries will end on Friday, January 6. (PIA 12).

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