By James Paladino (staff@latinospost.com) | First Posted: Dec 27, 2012 06:34 PM EST


Miss USA Olivia Culpo reacts after winning Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas (Photo : Reuters)

After Janine Tugonon earned global recognition as the runner-up in the Miss Universe 2012 competition, the model returned to the Philippines and joined in a government-sponsored event to encourage other means of celebration than fireworks for holidays such as New Years and Christmas Eve.

Fireworks-related injuries are a serious problem in the Philippines, resulting in 72 injuries just between December 21 and 26, according to a recent Department of Health (DOH) Press Release. Health Secretary Enrique Ona notes, "There are more ways to be happy in welcoming the New Year. An injury in the family will not make our New Year Happier."

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While injuries are down from 2011, the DOH has announced plans to launch a ban on "individual use of fireworks/firecrackers" if the number of reported incidents continues to ratchet up. Most of the injuries afflicted males, while 39 percent involved children below 10 years old. Most victims simply endured blast injuries, but 20 percent of cases involved eye injuries, and 4 percent necessitated amputation.

Inquirer News reports that Miss Philippines danced to Psy's popular Gangam Style at the Department of Health drive, presenting it as an alternative to fireworks.

Tugonon was raised in Balanga, Bataan, and holds a BS Pharmacy Cum Laude from UST. The Miss Universe contestant hopes to become a social entrepreneur.

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