By Martin Sadongdong
The number of firecracker-related injury in southern metro during the New Year’s revelry this year decreased by more than half compared to last year’s figure but more indiscriminate firing incidents were recorded, according to authorities.
Chief Superintendent Tomas Apolinario Jr., director of Southern Police District (SPD), said there were 47 cracker-related injuries from December 16, 2017 to 11 a.m. of January 1, 2018.
It was comparatively lower than the recorded 107 incidents last year, he said.
However, same record showed that there were four cases of indiscriminate firing where there was only one incident last year which happened on December 25, 2017.
“(There are) many factors for the increased arrested (persons for) indiscriminate firing. More police deployment now compared to last year kaya madami ang nahuli. Baka hindi nahuli last year,” Apolinario said.
“(There are) lesser… or no stray bullet incident this year while last year may stray bullet incidents. Meaning effective ang (the) police deployment,” he added.
Among the 47 cracker-related injuries, Pasay City had the highest share with 15 recorded incidents while Taguig City had 10; Parañaque City and Las Piñas City had seven apiece; Muntinlupa City had five while Makati City had three.
At the Pasay City General Hospital, some of the victims had to wait at the lounge of the Emergency Room as there were limited rooms for treatment.
A man who refused to give his name arrived at the ER around 12 noon yesterday accompanied by another man while his left hand was covered in blood-soaked cloth.
When interviewed, the victim said he was trying to light up an unused piccolo when it suddenly exploded.
“Hindi na ako magpapaputok sa susunod,” the victim said when he was released around 2 p.m. after being treated.
Hospital officers said piccolo was the top cause of cracker-related injury in Pasay.
From December 5, 2017 to 12 noon of January 1, 2018, the Pasay City General Hospital already recorded 19 injuries due to piccolo, two came from an unknown firecracker, two from baby rocket, while kwitis, whistle bomb and lucis had one record each.
This happened despite 12 areas were earlier designated as firecracker zones in Pasay City.
“Di po namin alam (I don’t know) ‘yun [the firecracker zone] sa tapat lang po ako ng bahay (just in front of the house [I lit the firecracker],” said one victim waiting at the ER lounge with his head covered with cloth.
Four persons, including two soldiers and a police, were arrested for indiscriminately firing their guns during the New Year’s revelry.
In New Lower Bicutan, Taguig City, Staff Sergeant Jamael Mindalano, a retired Philippine Army (PA) officer, and Corporal Richard John Quijano, an active member of the PA assigned at Light Reaction Coy, Light Reaction Regiment, Special Operations Command were apprehended early yesterday for allegedly firing their guns.
Police said Mindalano and Quijano were both drunk when they fired shots in the air to welcome the New Year.
Unfortunately, their neighbor Jolly Moreno was “slightly” hit in the body (right midsection) by a bullet shrapnel that ricocheted. He was already in safe condition, police added.
The two drunk soldiers reportedly tried to hurt the arresting officers who brought them to the precinct.
Police confiscated from the soldiers two caliber 45 pistols, a 9mm pistol, a caliber 38 revolver and assorted ammunition.
They will be charged with multiple cases including indiscriminate firing, alarm and scandal, illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, physical injury, direct assault, resisting arrest, and serious disobedience.
In Las Piñas City, Police Officer 3 Alexander Roy Rafer, who was assigned in the city, was nabbed by authorities after allegedly firing his 9mm service firearm.
The last incident of indiscriminate firing was recorded in Barangay Cembo, Makati where 54-year-old Federico Alcala was caught for firing a caliber 45 pistol.