GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Police operatives in South Cotabato province have confiscated around P700,000 worth of illegal firecrackers and pyrotechnics during a series of operations in the area in the past holiday season.
Senior Supt. Randolph Delfin, South Cotabato police director, said Friday the illegal items were seized during a raid on an unlicensed firecracker distributor and crackdowns on illegal firecracker stalls and other retail outlets in the province during the Christmas and New Year holidays.
“Most of the confiscated items were the banned piccolo and large five star firecrackers,” he told reporters.
Based on the government’s regulations, the selling and distribution of firecrackers and fireworks containing gunpowder more than a third of a teaspoon are strictly prohibited.
Among the firecrackers that had failed such standard but have remained available in the markets are pla-pla, bin laden, big triangulo, super lolo, goodbye Philippines, goodbye world and piccolo.
Delfin said majority of the firework and firecracker retailers that earlier secured licenses or permits from their office have properly complied with the standard regulations.
He said most of the violators were unlicensed retailers and itinerant vendors that mainly thrive because of the proliferation of smuggled illegal firecrackers in the area.
On Friday morning, the police official led the destruction of some P200,000 worth of illegal fireworks and firecrackers at the South Cotabato Provincial Police Office compound in Koronadal City.
The confiscated items, which were stacked in five large boxes, were soaked in water and later buried in a pit.
Delfin said such items were seized during the inspections on firecracker stalls and operations against illegal retailers and vendors in Koronadal City and in several other towns in the province before the New Year’s Eve.
Two days before Christmas Eve, local police operatives recovered some P500,000 worth of firecrackers and fireworks in a raid on a house in Barangay General Paulino Santos in Koronadal City.
The seized items, which were allegedly consigned to an unlicensed firecracker distributor identified as a certain Henry Sy alias Ibrahim, comprised various “high-grade” and “powerful” firecrackers that were banned by the government.
Delfin said the confiscated items are presently under their safekeeping pending the filing of charges against the alleged consignee or owner, who supposedly left the area prior to the raid.
“If nobody will come forward and claim or admit ownership over the items, we file the charges against the owner of the house where the illegal items were found,” the official added. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)