The firecracker injuries sustained in the yearend revelry appeared to be a harbinger of worse things to come. According to the Department of Health, not only was the final number significantly higher this year compared to 2013 (1,018 injuries at the start of the new year, or 87 cases more than the figure recorded in same period last year, and 73 cases more than the average in the last five years from 2008 to 2012) but 22 cases also were the result of stray bullets.
By Conrado de Quiros
Ukul Talumpa was the mayor of Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur. He, his wife, a 25-year-old relative, and a year-and-a-half old infant were shot and killed by gunmen as they emerged into the bay area from Naia 3. The gunmen, as usual, rode on motorcycles and drove away before terrified guards and onlookers could react. Not as usual, they wore cops’ uniforms underneath their jackets. How they managed to evade every security check in the airport, only they, and NAIA 3 officials, can say. There is no CCTV to record what happened.
By Conrado de Quiros
Someone asked me some days ago if we were likely to have more shooting rampages like the one Ronald Bae wrought last week. The context of his question, confirmed by several other questions, was whether we had on our horizon a reign of terror like the one that grips America today. Something along the lines of Sandy Hook and the other “senseless” shooting sprees that have erupted like a pent-up volcano there.
A permanent gun ban is a key factor in reducing crimes and making the Philippines a more peaceful country to live in. We need such a ban to prevent accidental deaths caused by stray bullets from guns fired by irresponsible individuals as their way of celebrating the New Year.
AS PREDICTED in Wednesday’s column, the Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) issued press releases after the New Year’s Eve mayhem that the total number of firecracker-related injuries is “less” than that of last year, patted themselves on the back, and claimed that this was due to their “successful” antifirecracker campaigns. Big deal! There were still 675 injuries caused by firecrackers, 20 from stray bullets, two of which were fatal. That does not include the deaths and injuries and properties lost in fires caused by firecrackers. As stated previously, even one death or injury is one too many. If the DOH and PNP were successful at all, there should have been zero casualty, as allegedly happened in Davao City.