Twenty-one people were killed, many hit by stray bullets, and about 1,500 were injured as the Philippines put aside economic difficulties to welcome 1991 with firecrackers and gunfire, police said Tuesday.

They said 11 fires broke out in Manila, one of them killing three workers trapped inside a garment factory. One man was electrocuted in another fire in crowded Quiapo district, they said.Thirteen people died of gunshot wounds in the midnight revelry in and around Manila, police said. The rest of the fatalities were stabbing victims, they said.

Every year scores of people die of wounds from bullets fired off in celebration, despite appeals against the use of firearms during the New Year revelry.