THE Philippine National Police said that the country welcomed the New Year very peacefully on Wednesday with no deaths recorded as a result of stray bullets and indiscriminate firing unlike in previous years.
“It was a record-breaking ‘Bisperas’ and New Year’s Eve, from 6 a.m. of December 31, 2019 to 6 a.m. of January 1, 2020 as we recorded no injuries due to stray bullets and illegal discharge of firearms,” said PNP spokesman Brigadier General Bernard M. Banac.
During the period, the PNP spokesperson said that only one civilian from Central Luzon was arrested for illegal discharge of firearm.
“A blessed new year to everyone. The Philippine National Police extends the gratitude and commendation of national leadership to Filipino nation for the generally peaceful and orderly observance of the traditional holiday season that ushered year 2020 at midnight Tuesday,” said Banac.
“We are grateful that the people heeded our call to shun the age-old tradition of welcoming the New Year with dangerous firecrackers and gunfire that has resulted in death and injuries in previous years,” he added.
According to Banac, based on PNP records, the 2019 probably goes down in history as the safest and most uneventful observance of the Christmas and New Year holidays that posted zero death.
He said that the PNP Command Center recorded a total of 324 holiday-incidents nationwide involving firecrackers, stray bullets, and illegal discharge of firearms since December 16, 2019.
“As of the first working hour of New Year’s day, the PNP recorded only 81 firecracker-related injuries, mostly self-injuries by violators of the firecracker ban.
Although there were three reported stray bullet incidents, these did not result in injuries. On the other hand, seven persons were reported injured in 21 separate cases of illegal discharge of firearms,” Banac said.
He said that PNP agents arrested 21 persons for illegal discharge of firearms and 44 others for firecracker-related offenses.
Among those arrested for firing guns during the season was Chinese national Kimy Chan who was caught on Christmas Day in front of a music bar along Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City.
Of the 21 arrested for firing guns, 14 were civilians, one a PNP member, two Armed Forces personnel, one a member of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit while three were security guards.
“They will face the stiffest criminal and administrative sanctions applicable,” Banac said.
It should be also noteworthy that the 324 incidents recorded in 2019 pales in comparison with the 798 recorded in 2018, he added.