‘Boga’ rises cracker injuries in Central Luzon

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CITY OF MALOLOS—Firecracker related injuries in Central Luzon since Dec. 21 rose to 56 compared to only 17 last year because of the use of illegal and improvised firecracker “boga,” including other prohibited fireworks products, officials said in a report on Friday.

As of Saturday, Dec.30, there were 56 firecracker related injuries recorded in the region. Pampanga with 25 cases has the highest, Nueva Ecija with 10 as second and Bulacan with 9 as the third.

Corazon Flores, Department of Health (DOH) region 3 director during Friday’s visit at Bulacan Medical Center said that the incidents mostly involved boga, piccolo, and whistle devices. There are also cases brought by legal firecracker five-star (the regular size ones, the large sizes are the ones prohibited) and skyrocket or kwitis, also not prohibited under RA 7183, the laws on manufacture, sales and distribution of firecrackers and pyrotechnics. 

Gov. Daniel Fernando, chair of Bulacan Provincial Pyrotechnic Board, Vice Governor Alexis Castro, Bulacan Medical Center Director Lito Trinidad and Bulacan Provincial Health Office, Head, Edwin Tecson showed and briefed Flores on the readiness of the Bulacan Medical Center (BMC) in treating and responding to fireworks related incidents as the new year celebration is barely only a day left.

“We already have a protocol of treating our kababayans who suffered injuries during the new year celebration. We also have on stand-by Go Team health and response units composed of 2 BMC and one Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) ambulances” if needed, Fernando said.

Gov. Daniel Fernando (third from right) was joined by Vice Gov. Alex Castro (second from right) and DOH Region 3 Director Corazon Flores and Bulacan Medical Center Director Lito Trinidad (second and first from left) and Edwin Tecson, head of the Bulacan Health Office (wearing a light green polo, first from the right) in a press briefing on the readiness of the hospital in treating and responding to cracker related injuries for the new year celebration. Photo by Anton Luis Catindig

According to the DOH data, hands are the most commonly affected, burned or injured from accidental explosions including head, eyes, neck, arms and abdomen.

The most common victims are ages 1-10. The oldest recorded victim is 52 years old. All the 40 cases, Flores said, involved male.

Trinidad urged parents to strictly watch their children not to buy firecrackers and only use the pyrotechnic or the “pailaw” and to also strictly remind them not to pick up firecracker left overs or those which malfunctioned and could not be lighted up.    

Castro said Bulacan does not need new laws in regulating the fireworks industry because of the already existing laws on its manufacture, sales and distribution through RA 7183.

Castro said Bulacan respects other local government units which prohibit the  manufacture, sales, use and distribution of fireworks in their respective areas because they are mandated to have their own sets of ordinances, whether they declare it as illegal or not. But he said, the province of Bulacan will always support and promote the fireworks industry. “It is the right of every LGU to implement what its leaders think will be best for their people, but here in Bulacan, we will always support and promote the legal aspect of the fireworks industry. What we do not support is the manufacture, sale and distribution of the illegal products,” the vice governor added.

According to the governor he has ordered all the barangay captains in fireworks producing towns of Bocaue, Sta. Maria, San Ildefonso, San Rafael, Baliwag and Norzagaray to check clandestine backyard and residential manufacture of firecrackers and pyrotechnics.

Fernando said obeying the law, not using or patronizing prohibited firecrackers and observing safety precautions will keep everyone safe while enjoying the sounds and the beautiful bright lights of the fireworks in welcoming the new year.

Edwin Tecson, Bulacan Public Health Officer said the province has 49 private hospitals, 13 government institutions and 24 city and municipal health offices.

Tecson also said Bulacan for the past consecutive years has not recorded a single case of stray bullet in welcoming the new year.

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