16 firecracker victims recorded in Albay; 53 total in Bicol

LEGAZPI CITY—The celebration of New Year in Albay was generally orderly and peaceful, a report compiled by the Albay Provincial Police Office said.

Senior Supt. Marlo Meneses, APPO director, said reports from the 18 chiefs of police of the cities and towns in the province showed that from December 16 up to Thursday morning, there were 16 cases of firecracker accidents.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health registered a total of 53 firecracker victims this year, seven percent lower than that of 2013’s mark of 57, which DOH officials attributed to the bad weather prevailing in the region.

The cities of Legazpi and Tabaco registered five cases each, two in Ligao City and one each in the towns of Daraga, Polangui, Camalig and Oas.

Nine of the victims used piccolo firecrackers, while "kwitis" victimized three, "bawang" had two, "pla-pla" had one and an unknown firecracker brand hit one person. Of the 16 victims, Meneses said, 14 were males while two were females.

The youngest victim was six years old from Tabaco City while the oldest was 42 years old from Polangui town who lighted a kwitis.

The police official said that even before the year ended, his men had already conducted a series of successful buy-bust operations against persons behind the sale of illegal firecrackers.

The police operatives arrested a Chinese national in a buy-bust operation on Demetrio St., Barangay Quinale, Tabaco City.

Meneses identified the suspect as Chen Quingshui, 46, from Fujan, China, who yielded various brands of illegal firecrackers.

Legazpi City police operatives also successfully raided a store in the city that was selling illegal firecrackers.

The campaign was in accordance with RA 7183 or an Act regulating the sale, manufacture, distribution, use, importation of firecrackers, the Albay police chief explained.

Meneses added that these operations were in line with the Green Christmas program of Governor Joey Sarte Salceda.—by By Nancy Ibo Mediavillo for PNA

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