Still zero casualty

Only 8 cases reported in region, none in Davao City
THE CITY has continued its zero firecracker casualty count, with the whole Davao Region only listed eight firecracker injuries.

Department of Health (DOH) monitoring from 1:44 a.m. up to 9 a.m. of Jan. 1 yielded zero casualties in the city, based on data from the online National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.

Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio lauded the zero casualties in the city and credited this to the strict implementation of the ban against firecrackers and pyrotechnic materials by the Davao City Police Office and Task Force Davao.

In a statement, Duterte thanked the Davaoeños for cooperating with the authorities by following the law and celebrating New Year in ways that are safe — even without firecrackers and pyrotechnic materials.

“Davao is a proof that celebrations are possible even without firecrackers and pyrotechnic materials that could cause harm to us and to our children,” she said.

The Department of Health has been pushing for government-regulated fireworks displays at public parks rather than firecracker use.

93.6% lower

DOH XI registered eight cases that involved firecrackers and pyrotechnic from its Dec. 21 to Jan. 2 monitoring.

This translates to a 93.6% decrease in casualties in the region compared to the previous year’s record.

Assistant Secretary Abdullah Dumama, Jr. said the lone case at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) was from Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte.

The Davao Regional Medical Center (DRMC) in Tagum City, Davao del Norte recorded seven cases.

Three cases were from Tagum, while one case each coming from Carmen and Panabo City in Davao del Norte; and Mawab and Pantukan in Compostela Valley.

Last year, there were 125 recorded firecracker injuries in the region. The most number of injuries were from Davao del Norte, which recorded 92 injuries.

In 2015, the DRMC received 35 firecracker-related injuries, with at least two from stray bullets.


No stray bullets, no shots fired

The police and military yesterday said there was no firecracker and indiscriminate firing injury during the New Year’s celebration in the city.

Davao City Police Office spokesperson Sr. Insp. Catherine Dela Rey told the TIMES that the celebration was generally peaceful without any untoward incidents.

“Zero,” Dela Rey said about injuries or death caused by firecrackers or indiscriminate gun firing.

In a separate interview, Col. Erwin Bernard Neri, the commander of Task force Davao, said the celebration was very peaceful and orderly because of the cooperation of the public of the security measures that the TF Davao personnel and other law enforcement agencies have undertaken.

Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa spent his New Year in the city.

Together with Chief Supt Manuel Gaerlan, director of Police Regional Office XI, Dela Rosa patrolled and inspected various areas in the city a few hours before the New Year arrived.

Dela Rosa told reporters during an interview at the Torotot Festival in Roxas Avenue that he wishes for a drug- free country this year.

Law and order

Davao City has outlawed all forms of firecrackers including sparklers, watusi, and even fireworks displays within city limits since 2001.

When he was still mayor of Davao, President Rodrigo Duterte banned the sale of firecrackers and pyrotechnics in 2001.

An ordinance that prohibited the manufacture, sale, distribution, possession, or use of firecrackers and pyrotechnic materials was approved by the City Council a year later.

Violators face fines and jail time if caught.

The city government has oftentimes encouraged snitching of neighbors who violate the ordinance with a cash reward.

Since the law was implemented in 2001, medical practitioners and staff in hospitals have time to celebrate the traditional New Year’s dinner, or media noche, without fear of attending to emergency cases.

The most number of casualties recorded since the ban was implemented was in 2006, when four patients were taken in to the SPMC for firecracker-related injuries.

Since 2012, no firecracker-related injury has been recorded at the government-run hospital based in the city, with health agencies counting the actual residence of the patient instead of where they were treated.

That year, the patient was from Region 12 who was treated for firecracker injuries.

In 2014, the casualty was from Samal Island.

No guns, but trumpets

Since 2013, the Davao city government has been holding the Torotot Festival, a countdown that draws thousands of Davaoeños on New Year’s Eve.

The festival, which is in partnership with Smart, is in support for Davao’s tradition of welcoming the New Year minus firecrackers and pyrotechnic materials.

The countdown for 2017, attended by around 5,000 participants at the Rizal Park, was highlighted by competitions: Most Creative Torotot, Best Torotot-inspired Costume, Best Torotot-inspired Cosplay, Best Torotot-Hip Hop Dance Group, and Best Torotot-inspired Zumba Dancer.

Except for the winner of the Zumba competition who received P15,000, winners of the other contests each received P50,000.

60% lower

In the nationwide record, DOH Sec. Paulyn Ubial reported only 350 firecracker-related injuries.

The figure, according to the DOH, is 60% lower than 2011–2015 average.

Majority of the injuries were still caused by piccolo.

Ubial added that a 15-year old girl was hit by a stray bullet and is now fighting for her life at the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center.

Last week, the DOH said it would resort to a shame campaign for LGUs who had the most number of casualties related to firecrackers. (Yas Ocampo and Rhoda Grace Saron)