Davao City’s firecracker ban: “silent night, holy night” for 7th year

In 2001, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte banned the sale of firecrackers and pyrotechnics by not issuing business permits to vendors and malls intending to sell these. He said the money for fireworks would be better spent on food. He also announced a P5,000 bounty for anyone who could pinpoint anyone firing a gun during the merrymaking.

It was a quiet Christmas that year. Instead of shouting across the table during the “noche buena”  because firecrackers were exploding here and there, families were now talking to one another.

It was only in 2002 when the City Council passed Ordinance 060-02 prohibiting the manufacture, sale, distribution, possession, or use of firecrackers or pyrotechnic devices.

Since the ban, the city has recorded zero injury and zero death from firecracker explosion.

The ban is not limited only to Christmas and New Year. Firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices are banned as well in the celebration of the Chinese New Year and the Muslims’ Eid’l Fitr (end of Ramadhan).

During the ASEAN Tourism Forum in 2006 which the city hosted, the display of fireworks was not allowed. In lieu of the city, the activity was held in Samal City, across the Davao Gulf.

The ordinance penalizes first offenders with a fine of P1,000 or imprisonment of 20 to 30 days, or both; second offenders with a fine of P3,000 or imprisonment of from one to three months or both; and third offenders, a fine of P5,000 or imprisonment of from three to six months, or both.

Managers or owners of business establishments caught violating the ordinance will also be held liable and their business permits cancelled on the third offense. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)