Tragic New Year’s eve revelries

OUR recent New Year’s eve revelry took the lives of many innocent individuals and caused injuries to many others despite a government ban on powerful firecrackers and a campaign against indiscriminate firing of guns among our policemen.

A promising 7-year-old Stephanie Nicole Ella was hit by a stray bullet while watching fireworks in front of her house in Caloocan City.

She eventually succumbed to death, sending her family in so much grief and agony.

A four-year-old boy identified as Ranjelo Nemor also died after he was hit at his back while watching fireworks near his home in Addition Hills Village in Mandaluyong City.

Four more were rushed to the Philippine General Hospital, while two others, including a pregnant woman, were sent to San Juan De Dios Hospital in Pasay City.

In Pasig, a man was also rushed to the hospital after getting hit on his forehead, while three others were sent to Pasay City General Hospital and two to Rizal Medical Center.

To date, more than 200 of the injured were said to be children below 10-years-old and the rest were adults; the other half were passive watchers while the rest voluntarily lighted firecrackers; 31 percent or 51 people sustained eye injuries.

And notwithstanding the sheer volume of injuries from uncontrolled use of powerful firecrackers, the loss of lives during our New Year’s revelry shocked and grieved the whole nation, prompting authorities to review its anti-firecrackers’ campaign.

The Department of Health has nothing to be proud of with the reported decrease of firecrackers-related accidents.

I wonder whether Health Undersecretary Eric Tayag could still dance ala Gangnam Style, amusing it may be.

We should review the way we celebrate our New Year’s eve, which we copied from Chinese tradition on the belief that the louder the noise of our firecrackers, the better it will scarce off evil spirits and subsequently bring good luck for the coming year.

But putting oneself – and much less, others – to greater risk is not worth all the trouble.

One could not imagine how we would want to embrace the incoming year with a loss of our fingers, or hands or worse, a stray bullet stuck on our body or head.

Welcoming the New Year with celebratory gunfire and powerful firecrackers is plain stupidity as it puts in serious peril the safety and lives of innocent revelers.

It is one death too many.

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