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Filipino child dies from New Year's Eve shooting

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 04:58 a.m. HST, Jan 02, 2013

MANILA » A 7-year-old girl died today after being hit in the head by a stray bullet during New Year's Eve revelry in the Philippines, heightening calls to halt one of Asia's most violent celebrations of the new year.

Stephanie Nicole Ella was watching fireworks with her family in their working-class neighborhood in Manila's suburban Caloocan city when she suddenly collapsed, blood spurting from her head. As she fought for her life in a government hospital, watched by her stunned parents, extensive media coverage of her ordeal turned her into a symbol of widespread concern over the violent celebrations.

Nearly 700 people were injured by firecrackers, including many illegally large types, and by celebratory gunfire on the days leading to the new year despite government warnings and a crackdown on prohibited firecrackers and gun firing. A boy also died when he was accidentally shot in the back with a homemade shotgun by an intoxicated man in Mandaluyong city in the capital at the height of New Year's revelry, police said, adding a suspect has been arrested.

At least 40 people were injured by stray bullets during the New Year revelries, according to police.

Stephanie, an award-winning student, "dreamed at a young age to become rich to help us," her distraught father, Jay Ella, told reporters.

"This tragedy is a sobering reminder of how a reprehensible act from a thoughtless individual can rob our people, particularly our children, of their futures," President Benigno Aquino III's spokesman, Edwin Lacierda, said in a statement. "For such a promising life to be lost in such a senseless way puts the burden on all of us to make certain that this tragedy is not repeated."

Many Filipinos, largely influenced by Chinese tradition, believe that noisy New Year's celebrations drive away evil and misfortune. But they have carried that superstition to extremes, exploding dangerously huge firecrackers and firing guns to welcome the new year despite threats of arrest.

Although the number of injuries has tapered off in recent years, largely due to hard economic times and government scare campaigns, the figures remain alarming.

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allie wrote:
Manilla is the bottom of the universe.
on January 2,2013 | 06:35AM
2_centz wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on January 2,2013 | 06:47AM
chuck4664 wrote:
soon to be joined by america when the country goes broke and can't pay our debts.
on January 2,2013 | 07:03AM
Morimoto wrote:
I know he's a troll, but this time I have to agree with "Allie".
on January 2,2013 | 07:20AM
Anonymous wrote:
Allie, I have noticed you keep spelling Manila, ManiLLa. Why might that be?
on January 2,2013 | 06:30PM
sailfish1 wrote:
There are many places in the world that are worst than Manila. Where do you put Oahu - there used to be gunfire on Oahu during New Year's Eve too.
on January 2,2013 | 07:54PM
pizza wrote:
Are you still offering political/ethnic/cultural sensitivity training Allie? Sign me up!
on January 2,2013 | 10:33PM
Morimoto wrote:
I'll never go the Phillipines voluntarily. Got enough of those lolos over here I don't want to see more of them.
on January 2,2013 | 07:22AM
niceynicey wrote:
"Got enough of those lolos over here. . ." And what is that supposed to mean?
on January 2,2013 | 09:17AM
false wrote:
Yeah are you insinuating.......?
on January 2,2013 | 09:44AM
Morimoto wrote:
If you can't figure out what it means then you're one of the lolos.
on January 2,2013 | 09:54AM
ellinaskyrt wrote:
Morimoto is simply saying he's a racist against Filipinos.
on January 2,2013 | 10:49AM
false wrote:
That what we thought but just doesn't have the guts to say it. Happy New Year Morimoto.
on January 2,2013 | 11:07AM
Morimoto wrote:
First off nearly everyone is racist, it's just a matter of degree and how you express it. Secondly, I base my opinions on my experiences. You can call it racist I don't really care.
on January 2,2013 | 11:24AM
ellinaskyrt wrote:
You cared enough to comment back, racist.
on January 2,2013 | 01:10PM
matsuyama wrote:
Morimoto is a RACIST! Hey! Morimoto, remember UYESUGI ??? Yeah...
on January 2,2013 | 04:52PM
Anonymous wrote:
In that case, I'll never go to Japan voluntarily. "Got enough of those lolls over here I don't want to see more of them." Just check our state's stats on Hawai'i's racial makeup (as if you needed that to prove my point!). Thanks for letting us all know what you're really thinking, MORIMOTO!
on January 2,2013 | 06:34PM
sailfish1 wrote:
Who cares! If you never go there, it's no loss for Japan.
on January 2,2013 | 07:57PM
kainalu wrote:
Gun fire is easily distinguished from fireworks. We clearly had an ignorant shooting off his weapon in our neighborhood. We too, have had people hit by stray bullets on New Year's Eve. Most recently, a girl in Ewa Beach hit in the foot. I know of at least 2 others that had similar incidents, one a bullet pierced the roof and landed on the floor inside the house, another piercing the eave, glancing off a vehicle, and striking my friend's father in the leg. As reported by the local media, there's been a run on guns in this state, so we can expect more incidents like this, and as has already happened this short year, more gun-violence.
on January 2,2013 | 08:46AM
daniwitz13 wrote:
This story should point out why our HPD should NOT be shooting sometimes more than a Hundred shots in one event alone. They shoot at fleeing cars and fleeing suspects NOT caring about the General Public. Pity.
on January 2,2013 | 09:35AM
pizza wrote:
A paragon of factual acurracy indeed... Talk about pitiful...
on January 2,2013 | 10:35PM
false wrote:
I was just saying on the eve that someone somewhere will use a gun to celebrated. SAD.
on January 2,2013 | 09:42AM
GooglyMoogly wrote:
Bad decision to run the photo of the responder carrying this poor little girl. Be better than that, SA.
on January 2,2013 | 11:02AM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
Given some of the disturbing posts that this story has gotten, the Star-Advertiser should write a story regarding racism. It is disturbing to see the reactions of some of the readers who condone racism, even justifying it. It is really sad that in today's America that we still have racism. Yes, it is a fact of life but it is something that should never be encourage. Yes, free speech is a given but many of our soldiers who have served our country to protect the very freedom and creed of our country to equal rights are of the very race that some of these posters are condemning. Shame on them. It is not right to just accept their comments. And some posters have responded to these posters. And I feel encouraged by the fact that some posters have spoken up against racism in any way shape or form. Racism eats away at the very foundation of our country's stand for equal rights. Yes, racism exists but it does not mean we should condone it. One poster even goes on to say that everyone is racist to a certain degree. If racism is defined as looking on other races with an eye of disdain and to place all of one race in one category which designates them as less than one's own race then this poster is simply wrong. I for one do not see any other race as less than my own. We are all human on this small boat we call planet Earth. If one looks at the big picture, we are all ONE. I strongly urge the Star-Advertiser to look at these posts and to do something in the form an article regarding racism as it is apparently much needed. Many of our readers are children including my own. This an opportunity to bring to light on such an important issue facing our country today.
on January 2,2013 | 12:37PM
atilter wrote:
thank you
on January 2,2013 | 05:18PM
pizza wrote:
The First Ammendment provides cover for every form of comment- be it pithy, brilliant, to inflammatory, racist, insulting, et al...
on January 2,2013 | 10:38PM
Anonymous wrote:
Local folks obviously have never been in The Hoods of Los Angeles at the stroke of midnight on New Year's. If you know what's good for you, you stay off the streets and stay indoors. The sounds of automatic weapons being fired on full automatic are frightening.
on January 2,2013 | 06:37PM
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