‘Generally peaceful’ new year noted by PNP

January 01, 2019
Firecrackers injury
A man injured by firecrackers is cared for at the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center in Manila early yesterday after the New Year’s celebrations. AFP

THERE were still cases of stray bullets, indiscriminate firing and use of illegal firecrackers on Monday but still there was a generally peaceful situation as the country welcomed Year 2019 with a mild bang, the Philippine National Police reported yesterday.

PNP chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde said that the peaceful situation was particularly noted in Metro Manila where rains did not dampen the spirit of New Year revelers as they went outside their homes to celebrate.

National Capital Region Police Office chief, Director Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said they recorded no incident of any member of the police force being apprehended for firing his gun in the air during the New Year revelries as police nationwide veered away from the traditional practice of sealing the muzzles of their guns with masking tapes.

Eleazar said they recorded a case of a man involved in an indiscriminate firing although the suspect was immediately arrested. The official who inspected the preparations of his men in different places of convergence in Metro Manila on New Year’s Eve said 12,000 policemen were deployed in the metropolis to secure the streets.

For his part, PNP spokesman, Chief Superintendent Benigno B. Durana Jr. said nearly 26,700 policemen nationwide were deployed in different places of convergence, airports, piers and bus terminals as well as Churches and other places of worship  as part of their massive security preparations for the Yuletide Season.

Durana said they recorded 18 incidents across the country during the period December 16, 2018 up to January 1, 2019-and apprehended 97 for illegal possession and use of firecrackers and 14 others for sale of illegal firecrackers.

There were 3 incidents of stray bullets, 1 each in Metro Manila, Southern Mindanao and Cordillera region, the official added. However, in Dumeguete City in Negros Oriental, police are investigating a case of a stray bullet which injured a 30-year old woman. Police Regional Office 7 director, Chief Supt. Debold M. Sinas said that Aian Bejarasco, a resident of Purok , Barangay Batinguel went to the local police station to report  that while she and her family and neighbors were outside their house welcoming the New Year around 8:50 a.m. yesterday, she suddenly felt pain at the right portion of her shoulder and later discovered blood flowing from it.

The woman said one of her relatives later found a slug from an undetermined caliber on the ground. The victim was taken to a local hospital where after an x-ray procedure, she was advised by an attending physician to go home since she only suffered a slight injury. The woman turned out to have suffered an abrasion in her right shoulder reportedly caused by the stray bullet.

Durana said that their monitoring showed that during the same period, police arrested 26 persons for illegal discharge of firearms broken down as follows:  5 in NCR; 3 in Region 1; 2 in Region 2; 9 in Region 3; 1 each in Regions 5,7, 9 and 13; and 2 in Region 10.

He also said that there were also 55 cases of fire and 4 incidents of burning during to exploding firecrackers broken down into the following: 4 in NCR; 30 in Region 32; 1 in Region 4-A; 10 in Region 6; 4 in Region 7; and 2 in Region 9.

‘Durana said that that same period also saw the arrest of 23 for illegal discharge of firearms. He said that of the suspects, 6 including 3 policemen, 2 civilians and another law enforcement agent were arrested in Metro Manila;  3 in Region 1 (1 policemen and 2 government officials); 1 security guard and 1 civilian in Region 2; 2 policemen, 1 security guard and 3 civilians in Region 3; 1 civilian each in Regions 5,7 and 9;  1 civilian and 1 soldier in Region 10; and 1 policeman in Region 13.

The PNP also recorded 62 persons injured due to firecrackers composed of 3 in NCR; 231 in Region 3; 3 in Region 4-A; 8 in Region 6; 5 in Region 7; and 2 in Region 9.

Durana said there were also 14 persons injured due to illegal dis-
charge of firearms during the period: 7 in NCR, 5 in Region 3 and 1 each in Regions 2 and 7.

A single stray bullet victim was also reported in Metro Manila during the period, he added.