GenSan vows tough stance vs firecrackers

"We will confiscate (the firecrackers) if we will find them and impose hefty penalties on their owners or sellers," Acharon said.

The mayor said he specifically ordered the local police to monitor the public markets and other possible firecracker trading areas.

But based on the ordinance, the mayor said they will go slow on the selling of pyrotechnics and fireworks such as the "fountains" and "lusis," provided the sellers secure proper permits from the local government.

The city government started implementing a total firecracker ban in the city in 2003 through an executive order issued by Acharon. The city council passed Ordinance Number 11 in 2005 to give "more teeth" to the firecracker ban and the regulation of pyrotechnics.

The city has since recorded lesser number of injuries during the Christmas and New Year's Eve revelries, a development attributed to the ban. In 2006, the city health office only recorded four cases of firecracker injuries.

The city government initially imposed the firecracker ban in the city as a measure to preempt attempts by suspected terrorists in carrying out their plots using firecrackers as covers.

Acharon said the measure is very vital as the city continues its vigilance amid the persistent bomb threats spreading in the area.

The mayor added that most firecrackers now have become very powerful that one could not really distinguish them from a bomb or explosive. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)