Festivities in the town of Cordova on Mactan Island, Cebu, took a tragic turn on Monday when a fireworks hit and killed a young boy watching the event.
The firecracker known as the “bombshell” hit and exploded onto the stomach of eight-year-old Sam Alia Monteron, who was only about 20 metres from the detonation zone.
Neighbours were said to have attended a Mass at the local chapel at 8pm in honor of their patron St Michael Archangel.
After the mass, the fireworks display began and the children went to the site to watch.
Sam’s mother Michelle Monteron, aged 33, and her common-law husband Bryaner, 29, were on the street nearby with their other children.
After the explosions, Michelle said she heard people shouting that a boy name Samsam was hit.
The young boy was still breathing when he was brought to Lapu-Lapu District Hospital, but he died shortly after.
Police say the fireworks display was contracted for 10,000 pesos, but was not authorised or arranged correctly.
Local fire department personnel claim that they did not issue a permit for the display.
The display was arranged by Juliet Wahing, who claims to be a licensed firecracker manufacturer.
She turned over her two members of staff who had detonated the display, Joseph Berdin, 29, and Jason Tuquib, 31.
An investigation found that during the display, many of the fireworks did not launch vertically, with some flying into the crowds and homes around the scene horizontally. A house owned by Narciso Ochea was hit and an adult male was slightly injured.
Local authorities are coordinating with the Firearms Explosives Security Service Agency and the Guards Supervisory Section to determine other violations committed at the fireworks display.
Police say the display was held in a small open space near the chapel and barangay hall instead of a larger much safer area away from houses and nearby spectators.
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