Senator Loren Legarda today called for the regulation of firearms in the country as she expressed sympathies to the family of a seven-year-old girl who died by a stray bullet in the head during the New Year’s Eve revelry in Caloocan City. “I express my deepest condolences to the family of Stephanie Nicole Ella, a very young girl who was a victim of irresponsible gun firing. This tragic incident may not have happened if the use of firearms in the country were more strictly regulated, ensuring that there are no loose firearms,” Legarda said. Stephanie Nicole was watching fireworks outside her home in Malaria district, Caloocan City when she was hit by the bullet in the head. She was immediately rushed to the hospital but succumbed to death after several cardiac arrests. Based on initial reports by the Philippine National Police, Nicole was only one of 40 people hit by stray bullets during the New Year. “Our military and police officers have a greater responsibility of ensuring that they use firearms only in the line of duty. Licensed gun owners should be responsible in using their guns solely for self-protection. These weapons should be strictly used only for peace and order and keep our people safe from crime. They should never be used for reckless merry-making,” Legarda stressed. Earlier, Legarda was alarmed by the increase in holiday-related firecracker injuries and urged Filipinos to follow the ban on firecrackers, guns, and other forms of greeting the New Year that may harm their health and the environment.