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36 persons injured in Bulacan’s New Year celebration

By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 1 (PNA) –At least 36 persons were injured in the province as big revelers seem to ignore the "Iwas Paputok" campaign of the Department of Health (DOH).

A thick smoke and the stench of cordite filled the air in many parts of the province as revelers lit volume of fireworks as early as 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) reported the 36 victims were brought to different hospitals in Bulacan.

However, the PDRRMO said that there were no fatality and big fire reported.

There was also no report of victims of stray bullets, the PDRRMO said.

PDRRM executive officer Liz Mungcal said that 25 of the victims were holding firecrackers while 11 persons were simply watching or participating in lighting firecrackers.

As of 8:00 a.m. Wednesday, the PDRRMO reported that 16 of the victims, mostly children, were injured by the toy firecracker called “Picolo”; seven were blasted by oversized firecrackers; six were by “kwitis” or skyrockets; four by sparklers, two by the killer firecracker known as “pla-pla; ” and one by five star firecracker.

Mungcal said at least 22 of the victims were treated for burn injuries, three for lacerated wounds, two for avulsion while the others were treated for contusions and abrasion.

Dr. Paul Ruel Camina of the Bulacan Medical Center said that two male victims have lost fingers after getting blasted by an exploding “crying cow,”a type of firecracker that emits obnoxious fumes while mimicking the sound of a crying cow and a “whistle bomb, a smaller version of the firecracker known as “baby dynamite”.

The victims were identified as Allan Balmes, a resident of Banga 1st, Plaridel and Wilfredo Vegas Jr, of Guiguinto town.

Balmes was holding the baby dynamite (whistle bomb) when it exploded, damaging the fingers in both hands and part of his back.

Vegas, on the other hand, was injured when the seemingly harless “crying cow” suddenly exploded while being lighted.

Camina said that finger bones were already protruding when the victims were brought to the BMC.

Despite the big volume of fireworks that were ignited on New Year’s Eve, the number of firecracker victims in the province was still low as compared to 40 victims last year.

The PDRMMO said that the decrease in the number of victims can be attributed by the preparedness and awareness campaign on the proper handling of firecrackers by the provincial Government , the Bulacan police and other concerned agencies.

Mungcal said that a week before Christmas, PDRMMC chairman Gov. Willy M. Sy-Alvarado has already placed emergency teams, firefighters as well as medical teams on a 24 hours alert status, ready to help at any given instance. (PNA)

CTB/ZST/EGGAMOS/PS

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