2 arrested on Christmas Day for violating Davao firecracker ban

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 26 Dec) – Two were arrested here around 10 p.m. on Christmas Day for violating the 13-year-old ordinance banning the use of firecrackers or pyrotechnic devices.

The suspects were identified as Jun Blasquez, 35, and Rogelio Polancos, 32, who set off three pieces of piccolo at Garden Villas in Catalunan Grande, this city.

In a phone interview on Saturday, Chief Insp. Milgrace Driz, Davao City Police Office (DCPO) spokesperson, told MindaNews that the suspects were caught in the act using firecrackers by authorities who immediately responded upon receiving information.

City Ordinance No. 060-02 prohibits the “manufacture, sale, distribution, possession, or use of firecrackers or pyrotechnic devices.”

Under Section 3, first time offenders will be fined P1,000 or imprisonment of not more than one month but not less than 20 days, or both fine and imprisonment.

For second offense, violators will be meted out P3,000 or imprisonment of not more than three months but not less than one month, while for the third offense, a penalty of P5,000 or imprisonment of not more than six months but not less than three months will be imposed against offenders.

Driz warned Dabawenyos that they will arrest all those who will be caught violating the ordinance.

The police are also conducting monitoring around the city, most especially in the public markets where the selling of the firecrackers is possible.

“We have not caught violators yet,” she said.

Last week, Department of Health (DOH) 11 director Dr. Abdullah Dumama Jr. encouraged the Dabawenyos to do away with firecrackers and make use of party horns, known to locals as “torotots”, instead to make noise during Christmas and New Year celebrations.

He said he agreed on making the city’s landmark ordinance a nationwide policy to ensure the safety of the revelers.

“I strongly agree because so many people have suffered from firecracker blasts. Several hundreds have died, thousands have suffered injuries, several families have lost parents and several have had fingers or hands cut off,” Dumama said.

Records from the DOH 11 show that the number of firecracker-related injuries in the region comprising the four Davao provinces and Compostela Valley reached 139 from December 2014 to January 2015.

Most of these cases were reported in Davao del Norte with 71, followed by Davao del Sur with 31, Davao Oriental with 27, and Compostela Valley with eight.