THE government recorded a drastic reduction in fireworks-related injuries and incidents of indiscriminate firing and stray bullets during the holiday season culminating with the New Year celebration on Friday owing to a massive police security preparation and enforcement of the ban on unauthorized use of firecrackers and pyrotechnics.
Citing official records, Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque said that from December 1, 2020 to last Friday, only a total of 50 persons were hospitalized during the holiday revelries, 49 of them due to firecracker injuries and one stray bullet.
However, there was one stray bullet death fatality.
Duque said the figure is 85 percent lower than the 340 cases reported during the same period in 2019 and is also 89 percent higher than the 5-year average for the same period from 2015 to 2019 although the numbers can change as more reports come in,
Philippine National Police spokesperson Brigadier General Ildebrandi N. Usana said the lone stray bullet casualty is a 12-year old girl in Lanao del Norte who was believed to have been struck by a bullet in the head while playing with her cousins.
The official said there were also two other stray bullet incidents recorded after New Year’s Eve, one of which injured a 6-year-old child in Negros Occidental and a man who was injured in his leg by a stray bullet that penetrated their roof.
Both incidents are now being thoroughly investigated by the local police.
PNP chief General Debold M. Sinas ordered the conduct of summary dismissal proceedings against a Malabon City policewoman accused of involvement in an indiscriminate firing case on New Year’s Eve.
An investigation showed that a concerned citizen called up local barangay authorities to report successive gunfires he heard coming from no. 119 Dulong Herrera Street in Barangay Ibaba, Malabon City around 7:45 p.m. last Thursday.
Northern Police District director, Brig. Gen. Eliseo DC Cruz said that after being informed of the incident, a group of policemen from the Malabon Police Sub-Station 6 led by Lieutenant Mannyric delos Angeles went to the site with a SOCO team led by Captain Sonny Boy Tepace which recovered 14 spent cartridges in the area.
Cruz said that the accused identified as Staff Sergeant Karen Borromeo,39, assigned with the Malabon PNP Sub-Station 4 voluntarily surrendered to the officers and turned over her PNP-issued Glock 9mm semi-automatic pistol.
The accused tested negative for alcohol and drugs but tested positive for gunpowder nitrates when subjected to a paraffin examination.
Cruz said three witnesses have executed sworn affidavits regarding the indiscriminate firing case involving the policewoman. The NPD director said that around 11 a.m. last Friday, the policewoman’s live-in partner gave her sworn statement regarding her heated argument with Borromeo which prompted the accused to fire his weapon.
“Our investigation showed that jealousy triggered the incident. Right now, SSgt. Borromeo is being held at the Malabon City police jail facing criminal and administrative charges. I assure the public that the full force of the law will be applied on Borromeo and let the wheel of justice roll,” Cruz said.
The DOH said the National Capital Region still has the most number of injuries at 22 with Manila registering 12 cases; Caloocan City with 4; Pasig and Quezon cities with 2 each and Malabon and Marikina cities with 1 each. However, Duque said there was an 88 percent decrease in cases for NCR compared to last year.
Following Metro Manila are Calabarzon region with 5 cases and Ilocos-Pangasinan, Bicol and Western Visayas regions with 4 cases each.
“The significant reduction in the total number of cases may be attributed to the far-reaching effects of COVID-19 pandemic affecting people’s willingness and ability to celebrate through the use of fireworks,” Heaslth Secretary.Duque said even as he also lauded local government units and local chief executives who banned the use of fireworks.
“We also observed there was a change in behavior of Filipinos towards health. Due to the pandemic, Filipinos became more aware and involved in ensuring health and safety of their family and community,” the DOH secretary said.
DANAO ORDERS FILING OF CHARGES AGAINST ARRESTED VIOLATORS
NCRPO chief, Brig. Gen. Vicente D. Danao Jr. ordered the filing of criminal charges against individuals who were arrested for violating the ban on firecrackers and indiscriminate firing in Metro Manila this week.
The NCRPO director earlier said that all policemen who will fire their guns indiscriminately during the period will find themselves being dismissed from the police force, no ifs and buts. That means SSgt. Borromeo will be facing the ax soon.
The Eastern Police District also filed criminal charges against a 64-year-old barangay ‘tanod’ in Bgy. Concepcion Uno who accidentally discharged his firearm injuring an 11-yearold girl last Friday.
EPD director, Brig. Gen. Matthew P. Baccay said that an investigation showed that suspect Angel Elairon was holding an unlicensed caliber .45 pistol at the 2nd floor of his house when he lost his grip on the gun.
As a result, the firearm fell on the wooden floor and went off, the bullet hitting the lower left leg of the victim who was then sleeping on the ground floor. The girl was taken by her mother to a local hospital when an x-ray showed a slug imbedded on her bone which requires surgery for removal.
Baccay said that Marikina City policemen arrested the suspect who yielded the unlicensed .45 pistol with serial no. 1080599 with a magazine containing several live ammunition.
The suspect will be facing charges for violation of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulations Act of 2013 and serious physical injury.Publication Source : People's Journal