Boy dies, more than 200 injured on New Year’s Eve in Philippines

2013-01-01 10:33

A 4-year-old boy died and more than 200 were injured by fireworks and gunfire during New Year’s Eve revelry in the Philippines.

The boy died after being hit by a stray bullet in the back while watching fireworks near his home in Mandaluyong City in Manila, police officer Jesus Visagre said.

Eighteen other people were hit by stray bullets on New Year’s Eve, according to police and hospital records.

A 7-year-old girl was in critical condition after taking a bullet to the head, Health Secretary Enrique Ona said.

Ona said the overnight injuries brought to 405 the number of people hurt from firecrackers since December 21.

“We need to change our culture in celebrating the New Year,” Ona said. “We need to look at other countries. There has to be a strict regulation as to where our public can buy and light their fireworks.”

A year earlier, 454 people were hurt from firecrackers, 18 were hit by stray bullets and four accidentally ingested gunpowder.

Filipinos traditionally make noise, including setting off firecrackers, on New Year’s Eve in the belief that they would drive away the bad luck of the past year and attract good luck in the coming year. Some revelers even discharge guns into the air.

The Health Department has been pushing for a ban on the use of firecrackers, but the proposal has been met by opposition from the fireworks industry.

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