STRAY bullets injured two persons as Western Visayas welcomed the New Year.
The number is one case higher compared to last years lone case of stray bullet injury.
Fortunately, the two victims suffered minor injuries.
The first report of alleged stray bullet incident was recorded 11:50 p.m. of Dec. 31, 2018 at Barangay Subog, Maasin, Iloilo.
A 15-year-old boy suffered a graze wound on his nape and back. He was brought to Federico Roman Tirador Sr. Memorial District Hospital in Janiuay, Iloilo for treatment.
Inspector Oswald Gatuslao, Maasin police chief, said the teen may have been hit by a bullet from a bird shot shotgun. He was already released from hospital confinement.
The second stray bullet incident happened around 12:40 a.m. of Jan 1, 2019 at Aquino Nobleza West, Street, Janiuay town.
According to police report, Magdalena Dulce, 59, was watching the fireworks display when she felt pain after an unknown object hit her head. She was also brought to the same hospital where the 15-year-old boy was treated.
Dulce only suffered a slight avulsion and was later declared an outpatient.
Her relatives later recovered a deformed slug of an unknown caliber from the place where she was hit.
Last year, Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) almost attained zero-stray bullet goal for the New Year s Eve celebration until it confirmed that a woman brought to a hospital in Aklan province was hit by a stray bullet.
Nolie Ursula, 45, of Barangay Bel-is, Buruanga, Aklan, already hit the sack before the New Years eve but was awakened at around 12:05 a.m. of Jan. 1, 2018 after she felt pain on her right thigh.
The year prior to that, PRO-6 recorded 20 incidents with 15 injured persons all over the region.
Relatedly, an indiscriminate during incident was recorded in Mandurriao, Iloilo City.
A witness said they were outside watching some neighbors at Barangay Hibao-an Norte lighting firecrackers when Stewart Mirasol fired his gun around 12:30 a.m. of Jan 1, 2017
Mirasol, 37, was arrested by responding members of the Iloilo City Mobile Force Company and yielded with a caliber .9mm revolver with five ammunition.
In La Paz district, Iloilo City, a stray bullet was found at Barangay Rizal after it landed on the shoulder of a man.
Alias Budoy said the bullet apparently hit a branch of a tree and then landed on his shoulder before it fell on the pavement.
Meanwhile, as of 12noon of Jan 1, 2019, PRO-6 recorded 50 firecracker-related injuries since Dec. 16, 2018.
Capiz province recorded the most number of injuries at 24 and followed by Iloilo province with 10.
Bacolod City recorded 7 firecracker-related injuries; four in Negros Occidental; three in Iloilo City; and one each in Aklan and Guimaras province.
Antique province had no record of injuries caused by stray bullet of firecrackers.
This years cases indicated an increase in the number of firecracker-related injuries.
In 2016, there were 48 incidents with 57 injured persons. It dropped to 44 incidents with 44 injured persons in 2017.
In a statement, the Police Regional Office (PRO)-6 said the New Year Celebration in Western Visayas is generally peaceful.
While there was a slight increase in the stray bullet and firecracker-related injuries, Western Visayas improved its overall crime scenario with the decrease in the volume of the 8 focus crimes.
From 289 cases covering the period Dec. 16, 2017 to Jan. 1, 2018, it went down to 235 cases for the same period this year.
Cases of physical injuries hit the highest in the record with 128 incidents while carnapping is lowest with only a lone case.
For the same period, PRO-6 conducted 13 operations against Illegal Possession, Use and Sale of Firecrackers, which resulted in the arrest of one individual and confiscation of firecrackers worth to P154,775.
During the New Year Celebration, PRO-6 deployed 1,820 personnel to secure all places of convergence and transportation hubs/terminals, on top of its regular deployment in the whole region while maintaining the full alert status.
Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, Western Visayas police chief, said the successful security coverage is attributed to focused law enforcement operations; the implementation of Oplan Ligtas Paskuhan 2018; and the support and cooperation of the community and other stakeholders.