South Cotabato official seeks regulation of manufacture, use of firecrackers

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/13 November) — A senior member of the South Cotabato provincial board is pushing for the passage within the next two weeks of an ordinance that seeks to regulate the manufacture, selling and use of firecrackers and fireworks in the area.

Board member Agustin Demaala Jr., chair of the provincial board’s peace and order committee, said Thursday they have scheduled next week the final deliberations on the measure, which is supported by majority of the board members.

He said they will then proceed with its passage on the second and eventually, the third and final reading.

“We’re targeting to pass it before the end of the month so we can start its implementation in the coming Christmas holidays,” he said.

Demaala said they opted to just regulate the manufacture, selling and use of firecrackers and fireworks instead of totally banning them to give due consideration to legitimate manufacturers and retailers.

But he said it adopted a total ban on firecrackers and fireworks that have exceeded the allowable explosive content based on the provisions of Republic Act 7183 or the “Act Regulating the Sale, Manufacture, Distribution and Use of Firecrackers and other Pyrotechnic Devices.”

Among the banned materials are watusi or the “dancing firecracker,” piccolo, super lolo, atomic big triangulo, mother rockets, lolo thunder, pillbox, boga, big Judas’ belt, big bawang, goodbye Philippines, kabasi, five star, pla-pla, OG, giant whistle bomb and unlabeled firecrackers.

The Departments of Health and Trade and Industry had issued prohibitions regarding the use and selling of the said firecrackers and fireworks.

“Based on our studies, these are the firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices that have caused most of the recorded accidents in the province these past years,” Demaala said.

In the proposed ordinance, he said they have set various penalties to manufacturers and retailers who would violate its provisions.

He said violators would be slapped with a fine of P1,500 for the first offense; P2,000 for the second offense; and, P2,500 as well as cancellation of business permits for the third offense.

In November last year, Demaala filed a proposed ordinance seeking a firecracker ban in the province but eventually shelved it last month in favor of a resolution that called for the strict implementation of the firecrackers and pyrotechnics law.

But he decided early this year to revive the measure due to rise in injury cases in the area during the previous Christmas and New Year celebrations.

The Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) recorded a total of 104 firecracker-related injuries in the area in last year’s holidays.

Such figure was 18 more when compared to the 86 cases during the same period in the previous year.

The IPHO said 50 of the victims were children aged two 10 years-old and with piccolo accounting for 75 percent of the reported cases. (MindaNews)