Traders face raps for illegal sale of firecrackers, pyrotechnics in Region 12

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/02 January) — Police authorities are set to file charges for violation of the Firecrackers and Pyrotechnics Law against a number of traders in parts of Region 12 who were caught selling illegal or prohibited materials during the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Chief Supt. Lester Camba, Region 12 police director, said Friday he instructed all police stations and offices in the region to file the appropriate complaints against the erring traders on Monday, Jan. 5, the first official working day for this year.

Facing charges are owners of firecracker and pyrotechnic stalls, stores and shops as well as individuals who were found selling illegal items during raids or operations conducted by police operatives, he said.

He said traders who had secured business licenses or permits but resorted to selling illegal materials will be dealt with sternly.

“We want to teach them a lesson. Some of these stall owners were able leave their stalls prior to the raids and evaded arrest,” Camba said.

He said local police units are currently finalizing the list of the violators, who will mainly be charged for violation of Republic Act (RA) 7183 or the “Act Regulating the Sale, Manufacture, Distribution and Use of Firecrackers and other Pyrotechnic Devices.”

Under RA 7183, firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices that have more than the allowable explosive content are strictly prohibited.

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

The departments of health and of the trade and industry had issued prohibitions regarding the use and sale of the said firecrackers and fireworks.

Camba said they have yet to complete the inventory of the seized illegal firecrackers and pyrotechnics or fireworks during the raids but noted that they were quite significant.

The official said nearly all police stations and offices in the region were able to accomplish successful operations against illegal firecrackers and pyrotechnics in compliance with an earlier directive from the Philippine National Police central office.

He said a series of major operations were specifically launched in parts of North Cotabato and South Cotabato provinces as well as in the cities of Cotabato and General Santos.

Also known as Soccsksargen, Region 12 comprises of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

The South Cotabato Police Provincial Office earlier reported two major operations in the municipalities of Tupi and Polomolok that netted around P125,000 worth of illegal firecrackers and pyrotechnics.

“We concentrated our operations on piccolo, being the number one cause of firecracker injuries in our area,” Camba said.

Citing their assessment, the official said most of the illegal firecrackers that proliferated during the holidays came from areas outside the region and as far as Bulacan in Luzon.

He said majority of the confiscated materials, specifically piccolo, were locally-made or “fake” although they had markings that they were made and imported from China.

He said studies made by personnel from the regional police’s Firearms and Explosives Security Agency Group or FESAG showed that the “fake” piccolo were crudely-made, making them more dangerous to use. (MindaNews)