(Feature) People injured by firecrackers learn lessons the hard way

January 6, 2015 1:29 am 

By Leilani S. Junio

MANILA, Jan. 5 (PNA) — Despite repeated warnings from the Department of Health (DOH) and other concerned government authorities on the dangers posed by the use of firecrackers, many people still got injured during the recent new year's revelry.

The DOH has expressed dismay that some people seem to prefer to learn their lessons the hard way — after suffering painful injuries due to firecracker blasts.

As a result, the health department has vowed to push for a nationwide firecracker ban — an initiative that is supported by the Philippine National Police (PNP).

As a Philippines News Agency reporter covering the DOH beat, particularly its "Iwas Paputok" campaign from December 2014 until the first week of this year, I was able to interview some firecracker injury victims who admitted that they learned their lesson the hard way — only after what had happened to them.

In fact, as a form of New Year's resolution, they promised not to ever try firecrackers again and even spoke about the dangers of using them.

One of them was Mark Jason Samia, a tricycle driver in Manila who suffered a severe eye injury due to the explosion of “pla-pla” firecracker that he bought during the 2013 new year celebration.

Samia and some of his family members like his wife, aunt and a barangay leader were presented by DOH Acting Secretary Janette L. Garin to the media last Dec. 31 to heighten awareness of the public on harmful results that firecrackers can inflict.

Samia said that after suffering the consequence of his wrong decision on that fateful day, he had made a promise to himself not to use firecrackers anymore.

“Things were not the same for me anymore. From one fleeting moment of the happy thought of using firecrackers that produced a loud bang, the price I had to pay was heavy,” Samia said as he showed what happened to his left eye after it was hit by the firecracker blast.

He added that due to that injury, the very little savings that he had from earning a living as a tricycle driver was lost due to his hospitalization.

He recalled that at that time, his wife was pregnant and about to give birth and they had no choice but to seek loan to ensure that their children could continue their studies, in addition to meeting their daily needs.

Samia said that because of the eye injury, when he returned to his job as a tricycle driver, he could not earn even PhP400 a day anymore since it was very difficult to drive with only one eye functioning.

“My productivity is limited since I am not confident anymore to drive faster …,” he added.

He stressed that because of the lesson he learned in a most painful way, he had made a promise to shun away from using firecrackers.

“I began telling my friends, neighbors and relatives not to use firecrackers so as not to endanger their lives and future,” he said.

He also warned his children strictly not to ever use firecrackers as such had produced a “mark” on him that will always remind them that firecrackers are not safe.

“Using it (firecracker) is like a gamble. You are never sure of what will happen next and what extent of damage it may bring,” he said.

Samia said that since 2013, the forever new year's resolution of his family is “no to firecrackers.”

During the round of visits of DOH officials last Dec. 31 to the Dr. Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center in Sta. Cruz, Manila as well as the Philippine Orthopedic Center and East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City, most of the patients hurt by firecrackers also made promises not to use firecrackers anymore.

A minor whose hands were hit by an explosion of piccolo, a banned firecracker that accounted for most of the injuries, said he will never use firecrackers again.

The boy said that because of the incident, a part of his new year’s resolution is to never use firecrackers anymore, adding he is thankful that his injury did not result to amputation, like what happened to other children victimized by firecracker blasts.

“What happened to me was an awakening that children like me should not play firecrackers,” he said. (PNA)

SCS/LSJ

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