CAOAYAN,Philippines - Children were the most vulnerable victims of the New Year's Eve "big bang" revelry, highlighted by the death of a 3-month-old who was hit by a stray bullet in Caoayan, Ilocos Sur province.
The bullet pierced the head of Von Alexander Llagas as he slept beside his father, Valeriano, in their house in Barangay (village) Anonang Mayor at 11:50 p.m. on Dec. 31.
His mother, Vanessa, was in the kitchen preparing a midnight feast, when he cried. At that moment, Vanessa said she heard something strike their roof.
When Valeriano saw Von's head bleeding, he took the baby to Gabriela Silang General Hospital in Vigan City. The baby was transferred to Metro Vigan Cooperative Hospital where he died.
Von, the youngest of four siblings, was among those hit by stray bullets in the New Year revelry.
Health officials observed that while the number of firecracker-related injuries in the country increased significantly, most were milder than the cases last year.
"I've been in the emergency department of PGH (Philippine General Hospital) for 12 years and most of the injuries then were serious. You see hands blown off. But this year, injuries were milder," Health Undersecretary Teodoro Herbosa said.
Preliminary data released on Wednesday by the National Epidemiology Center of the Department of Health (DOH) showed that the number of injuries from Dec. 21, 2013, to 6 a.m. on Jan. 1, rose 29 per cent from the average in 2008-2012.
The DOH recorded a total of 599 injuries, including nine from stray bullets, based on data from 50 sentinel hospitals nationwide.