Village official arrested for violating Davao firecracker ban

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/02 January) — A barangay official was arrested and detained at the Mintal Police Station for allegedly violating the city ordinance banning the use of firecrackers and pyrotechnics.

Police arrested barangay councilor Eduardo Santander after midnight on Dec. 31 at his residence near Champaca Street in Mintal.

The city government bans the use, manufacture, possession and distribution of firecrackers and pyrotechnics.

Violators face imprisonment of 20 days up to six months and a fine of P1,000-5,000 through an ordinance passed in 2002.

In a telephone interview Thursday, barangay chair Ramon Bargamento said they were still seeking advice from the Department of Interior and Local government whether there would be sanctions against the official.

Bargamento said this was the first time that a barangay official was arrested for violation of the ordinance. “He is probably going to stay in jail for a while,” Bargamento said.

He said the apprehension was made as operatives roamed the barangay during the holiday season on the lookout for violators of the ordinance.

“It’s very easy to spot violators of the ban,” Bargamento said. “It’s very quiet in the barangay.”

He said the police station also deployed undercover in the area and spot the violators.

The barangay chair added he was confused as to why Santander broke the ordinance. “His children even stopped him, but he did not listen.”

Earlier last month, Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte said even motorists passing through the city who would be caught bringing the banned devices would be arrested and jailed, even after the holidays if need be, until a court hands down a decision.

Work resumes on January 5 for government offices, four days after the incident.

According to the Department of Health, there were no cases of firecracker related injuries reported at the Southern Philippines Medical Center as of 6am of January 1.

For Region 11, DOH regional director Abdullah Dumama Jr. said there were 18 injuries reported.

Nationwide, there were 346 fireworks injuries, 2 cases of fireworks ingestion and 3 cases of stray bullet injuries. There were no deaths reported.

According to a DOH bulletin for the agency’s Aksyon: Paputok Injury Reduction program, the total national figure was 160 cases lower than the five-year average or 227 cases lower than that for the same period last year. (MindaNews)