Lobregat bans firecrackers in Zambo

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/18 Nov) – Christmas and New Year’s Day celebration in this city will be quieter this time as Mayor Celso Lobregat issued an order banning the sale and use of firecrackers but still allowing certain pyrotechnic devices.

Executive Order 430-2011 states that “firecrackers such as but not limited to the piccolo, triangulo, super lolo, watusi, el Diablo, Judah’s belt and whistle device, among others, are hereby strictly prohibited.”

But sparklers, luces, fountain, jumbo regular and special, mabuhay, roman candle, tropillo, airwolf, butterfly, all kinds of pyrotechnics (pailaw), baby rocket, sky rocket (kwitis) and other similar items are allowed, according to city administrator Antonio Orendain Jr.

He stressed that only authorized persons or entities can sell pyrotechnic devices and only in registered place of business.

The EO also prohibits the licensed businessmen from keeping in their stores quantities of pyrotechnic devices in excess of combined total of 50 kilograms.

“The rest of the stock shall be kept in the warehouse from which replenishment shall be withdrawn from time to time as the need arises,” Orendain said.

Violation of Lobregat’s EO shall be dealt with in accordance with Section 11 of Republic Act 7183 (An Act Regulating the Sale, Manufacture, Distribution and use of Firecrackers and Other Pyrotechnic Devices) – a fine of not less that P20,000 nor more that P30,000, or imprisonment of not less than six months nor more than one year, or both fine and imprisonment, and could even lead to the revocation of the business permit.

The EO tasked the local police and military’s Task Force Zamboanga to ensure compliance of the order.

Lobregat’s EO is based on Section 12 of R.A. 7183 that authorizes local chief executives to promulgate the necessary rules and regulations within their respective territorial jurisdiction in conformity with the national standards, rules and regulations in furtherance of public safety, public order and national security, Orendain said.

Fred Bangayan, one of the authorized dealers, said they respect the decision of Lobregat to regulate the sale and use of firecrackers and pyrotechnic products in this city.

He said they might just have to sell products already in their inventory but covered by the prohibition to other places in the region to recover capital.

Orendain said that so far only 8 of the 11 businessmen who were given license and permit to sell last year have applied for renewal.

He said Lobregat’s order is aimed to minimize, if not eliminate, firecracker-related injuries during the Yuletide season.

Department of Health (DOH) regional office records showed that there were 40 victims, mostly from Zamboanga City, of firecracker-related injuries during the last New Year’s Eve revelry. There were four victims of stray bullets, too, but fortunately none of them died. (MindaNews)