Four-Year-Old Boy Loses Fingers in ‘Dart Bomb’ Explosion in Central Luzon

MANILA: In a tragic incident, a four-year-old boy from Central Luzon lost all five fingers on his right hand and suffered neck burns after a "dart bomb" exploded, as reported by the Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday. This case was among eight fireworks-related injuries recorded by the DOH from Saturday morning to Sunday morning.

According to Philippines News Agency, the injured individuals were all male, with the oldest being 37 years old. Six of the incidents occurred at home or on the streets, while two happened in designated areas. Alarmingly, five of these cases involved illegal fireworks. The DOH expressed grave concern over the accessibility of dangerous and illegal fireworks to young children. "We are thankful that the Department of the Interior and Local Government and many local government units are heeding the call to have community fireworks displays instead," the DOH stated, urging the police to intensify their efforts against the sale of illegal fireworks that endanger the lives of Filipino children.

The DOH reported a total of 115 fireworks-related injuries since December 21, with the National Capital Region accounting for 38 percent of these cases. Central Luzon and the Ilocos Region followed with 13 cases each. Soccsksargen reported nine cases, Calabarzon had six, while Cagayan Valley, Bicol Region, and Western Visayas each had five cases. In Eastern Visayas, the count of fireworks-related injuries increased to six as of Sunday. The latest reports included a nine-year-old boy from Burauen, Leyte, who sustained head and eye injuries from a lantaka (portable cannon), and a 33-year-old man from Guiuan, Eastern Samar, who suffered multiple injuries in the lower extremities due to a kwitis (mini skyrocket). The four previous victims were males aged 6, 8, 11, and 24.

The DOH noted that Boga (improvised cannon), Five Star, kwitis, Piccolo, luces (sparklers), Pla-Pla, whistle bomb, and other unlabeled items, including the dart bomb and imported fireworks, were responsible for 72 percent of the cases. Illegal fireworks, particularly Boga, Five Star, Piccolo, and Pla-pla, caused 59 percent of these incidents.