Firecracker victims share how life is without limbs

>> Tuesday, January 3, 2017

DAGUPAN CITY – In a soft voice, two amputees shyly appealed to their audience: “‘Wag nyo kaming tularan (Don’t emulate us).”
Nervous, the two confessed that they continue to regret their stubbornness and acts of indiscretion in their younger years.
They recalled that during the New Year revelries some years back, they set out to pick up firecrackers which failed to go off.
Seconds later, the same firecrackers almost blew off their upper limbs, which were later amputated.
Jemmar Llamas, now 36, of Barangay Bonuan Gueset, and Jomari Rosario, now 15, of Barangay Malued, survived the incidents that nearly cost them their lives.
They said they have moved on, though they believe that life would have been kinder to them had they not lost one arm each to the firecracker explosion.
At about 8 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2006, Jemmar, then 24, and six cousins greeted the new year by walking along Paras St. in Bonuan Gueset, searching for pyrotechnics that did not explode the previous night.
Jemmar stumbled upon a rare firecracker that seemed to have not exploded.
He showed his cousins his find,  but when they gathered around him, the firecracker suddenly exploded, badly injuring them.
 The victims’ relatives were speechless and only one kin, Rod Ibasan, had the presence of  mind to call for help.
“That was a ‘thermal bomb’, an imported kind of pyrotechnic,” recounted Jemmar during a talk with newsmen during the launch of this year’s “Oplan: Iwas Paputok,” a yearly project of the Department of Health (DOH) with DOH Undersecretary and concurrently DOH-Ilocos Region director Myrna Cabotaje, and Mayor Belen Fernandez as guests.
At Region 1 Medical Center (R1MC), doctors advised Jemmar’s parents that his badly mangled left arm needed to be amputated. His six cousins were luckier as they only sustained minor injuries and were discharged after a few hours.
In the case of Jomari, he was only 12 when his right arm was amputated on Jan. 4, 2014, a few minutes after he and some friends exploded a “Super Lolo” they found in their neighborhood.

Both Jemmar and Jomari were tapped by Dagupan’s local government to speak in various school forums in a bid to discourage students from exploding firecrackers. Instead, they endorse the use of toy horns, trumpets and drums – makeshift or otherwise – in creating noise to welcome the New Year, in keeping with the Filipino tradition. -- PNA


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