LEGAZPI CITY — The Department of Health (DOH) Bicol regional office reported on Friday having recorded 79 persons as victims of firecracker-related injuries during the period Dec. 21, 2015 to Jan. 1, 2016.

The DOH report showed that of the total number of cases, 28 individuals, mostly children ,suffered these injuries during the New Year’s eve.

Doctor Evi Sarmiento, DOH Bicol Action Paputok Injury Reduction (APIR) program coordinator, said in a phone interview that most of the 79 victims were minors, with 49 cases or 62 percent had “piccolo” as the leading injury-causing firecracker.

Sarmiento said topping the list was Albay, with 43 cases; followed by Camarines Sur, 23; Camarines Norte, 6; Masbate, 3; and 2 each for Sorsogon and Catanduanes.

She said that this year’s cases went up by 13 percent as compared to last year’s 69 cases while 93 injuries were reported in 2013.

Sarmiento said that based on the comparative data of injury cases reported during this New Year’s eve of 28, there was an increase of 46 percent as compared to 13 cases reported at the same period last year.

She said the agency tried its best to meet the national campaign for a zero-casualty goal on firecracker but failed in Bicol.

The DOH-Bicol official lamented that the campaign would have made it if only the local government units across the region and the law enforcement agencies had strictly enforced the ban on firecrackers, especially the sale of the product to minors.

She said piccolo and watusi firecrackers had been banned in the market but despite the ban, these products were still being sold, especially in sari-sari store outlets across the region.

These firecracker brands are commonly the ones bought by minors who usually fall victims of firecracker injuries every year, she said.

The report indicated that six out of 10 firecracker-related injuries involved minors, with ages ranging from six to 12 years.

Sarmiento even cited the case of a nine-year-old boy from Pili, Camarines Sur who was rushed to and confined on Thursday at the Bicol Medical Center in Naga City after suffering a serious wound at his back due to a piccolo blast.

Another case she cited was about a 36-year-old male from Camarines Norte that, according to the report, suffered an open fractured injury in his hands that needed to be amputated. PNA/