WHILE Baguio City set lofty goals of having zero firecracker and firework-related injuries for the coming of the new year, it has failed to meet them as the city and other Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) provinces saw a total of 24 firework-related injuries (FWRI). This is as of January 6, 2023.
According to the Department of Health Cordillera, this is 167 percent higher than last year, which had a total of nine cases.
The most injuries were from Abra province, which saw seven FWRI cases. Six each were recorded from Baguio City, and Kalinga Province, two each from Benguet and Mt. Province, and one from Apayao province.
While the Baguio City government has continued to implement its hardline against the use of firecrackers and fireworks, individuals have nonetheless continued to get their hands on the pyrotechnics.
The firecracker prohibition in Baguio is based on Ordinance No. 53 series of 2009 which prohibits the sale or explosion of firecrackers within the city limits except on special occasions such as fiestas, or celebrations of important events, where a written permission is granted by the city mayor.
“There shall be a total ban at all times in the city of all kinds of firecrackers prohibited by the national law,” the measure stressed.
So far, the city has not issued any permit for any individual or group to sell firecrackers but instead encourages community activities for the revelry.
The city’s record of six FWRI came from its surveillance from Dec. 22, 2022 to Jan. 1, 2023.
City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo said the blast injury victims were four males and two females. One case was reported on Dec. 25, 2022, two on Dec. 31 and three on Jan. 1, 2023.
Four were active cases and two were passive cases, meaning the injury was not caused by the victim’s direct handling of the pyrotechnic devices.
Three of the victims sustained injuries caused by kwitis, two due to sparklers and one due to a roman candle. Injuries were inflicted on the eyes, hands, extremities and neck.
Three of the six were under the influence of liquor.
Last year, two incidents were listed but in 2021, the city achieved a zero casualty status.
The city has an existing ordinance which bans the sale and use of certain firecrackers but it is the hope of health authorities that the measure can be upgraded to implement a total ban on these pyrotechnic devices. – with reports from Aileen P. Refuerzo