By: Apple Ta-as, Jhunnex Napallacan, Michelle Joy L. Padayhag, Nestle L. Semilla January 03,2016 - 01:25 AM
NEW YEARS EVE FIREWORKS/JAN.02,2016:Fireworks can be seen all over the Cebu City during the New Years eve.(CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON)

Pyroworks light up the sky above M.J Cuenco Avenue Cebu City towards the midnight of New Year’s Eve. (CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON)

3 hit by stray bullets in Cebu City; 69 firecracker  victims in C.  Visayas

There were no deaths, but the holiday revelry in Cebu after New Year’s Eve still produced three female victims of stray bullets .

There were  69 injured  by firecracker blasts in Central Visayas, with most of them – 25 cases –  in Cebu City.

In one bizarre case, a  bullet pierced a room of the Cebu Business Hotel  downtown.

Two female Australian guests booked ther were not harmed, said police.

A 12-year-old girl watching fireworks outside her house gate in barangay Capitol Site was hit in the left foot by a stray bullet. Mary Claire dela Lilan   was treated in the he Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center.

In the mountain barangay of Mabini, 37-year-old Jovelyn Pucot  was rushed, still conscious, with a bullet wound in the neck, to the same hospital after being hit at 1:15 a.m.

Four empty shells of a .45 caliber  gun were recovered by police in the area. A .38 caliber revolver was later found abandoned in the roof of a nearby piggery .

A third victim, 22-year-old Janome Diaz of barangay Duljo-Fatima was hit in the right thigh as she was walking along the street to buy cellphone load past 11 p.m.   She was able to run home to her mother, and then spent the first hours of New Year’s Day in the Cebu City Medical Center being treated.

As in previous cases of  indiscriminate firing, the shooters are difficult to trace and no charges are usually filed.

There was one stray bullet victim in Mandaue city and another in Baclayon town in Bohol province, said  Rennan Cimafranca, head of the Regional Epidemiological  and Surveillance Unit of the Department of Health in Central Visayas (RESU-7).

The DOH launches a yearly “Iwas Pupotok” campaign for the holiday revelry and  news media images of blast injuries   are seasonal fare but hospitals are still  kept busy with victims of firecracker accidents just before and after Dec. 31.

A good sign was that the 74 firecracker injuries recorded in Central Visayas is about the same number as last year’s, said Cimafranca, with most cases concentrated  in Cebu City.

“We only have one case of amputation this year from Cebu City, a man who accidentally held a whistle  bomb in his hand. There were 10 amputation cases, last year,” he said.

In Cebu island, there were 43 cases of blasts or burns without amputation, 11 eye injuires and congestion.

Firecracker injuries were reported in cities of Cebu (27), Mandaue (9), Lapu-Lapu (6), Naga (4), Talisay (4) and Toledo (1) and towns of Consolacion (2) and Minglanilla (2).

TOROTOT FOR NEW YEAR/DEC. 30, 2015: A display of "Torotot" with three colors Red, Yellow and Blue that form's the Philippine Flag and a message of "Bawal and Papotok Mag Torotot na lang Tayo" on the top portion that is on sale at Osmeña Blvd in preparation of the New years Eve celebration.(CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

A tri-color display of horns or “torotot” arranged like the Philippine flag on Osmena Boulevard comes with a message of ‘Bawal ng Paputok Mag Torotot na lang Tayo” (Explosions are banned, let’s just blow horns) (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

The youngest victim was a one-month-old baby whose face was partly burned by a kwitis, and the oldest was 76 years old.

Mosf of the vitims were young adults, male (78 percent).

Ten percent of the victims were under the influence of alcohol.

Half of the incidents took place in the streets, while the other half  occured at home.

“Despite our warnings and advisories, there are still many victims because of lack of discipline,” said Cimafranca.

Common firecrackers used were identified as kwitis, thunder, whistle bomb, boga, fountain, collected powders, piccolo, judas belt, baby rocket and triangle.

Aside from the actual blast injury, the threat of infection and tetatnus requires victims to monitor their condition after and take preventive medication.

In Talisay City,  Francis Tayong, 52, and his family  were relieved to escape injury  afte a bullet pierced the roof of their house.

Tayong noticed the bullet hole after he found a  deformed slug of  unknown caliber as he was cleaning the dining room floor.

Acting Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella said  Congress should amend the Revised Penal Code and impose a stricter penalty for indiscriminate firing.

“I think there is a compelling need to request Congress to revisit the provision of the RPC  particularly the offense of alarm and scandals because firing a gun  can punishable under that. But the penalty is very light. That law was enacted long ago,” he said.

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TAGS: barangay Duljo-Fatima, Cebu City, Cebu Island, Central Visayas, DOH, firecrackers, ni deaths, RESU-7, victims, VSMMC

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