BULACAN: To ensure that rules and regulations stated in Executive Order 28 and Republic Act (RA) 7183 were being observed by manufacturers, dealers and retailers of pyrotechnics and firecrackers amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, Bulacan Gov. Daniel Fernando, together with representatives of the Pyrotechnic Regulatory Board (PRB), led an inspection of some pyrotechnic stalls in the town of Bocaue here on Tuesday.

Daniel Fernando20201225 1 - Bulacan gov: No total ban on fireworks, please
SAFETY FIRST Bulacan Gov. Daniel Fernando (2nd from left), with Celso Cruz, an engineer and chairman emeritus of the Philippine Pyrotechnic Manufacturers and Dealers Assiciation Inc. (left), Bocaue Mayor Jose Santiago(2nd from right) and Maricel Cruz, chief of the Provincial Public Affairs Office (right), inspects a fireworks stall in Barangay Turo in Bocaue town on Tuesday morning to make sure that fireworks manufacturers and retailers comply with Republic Act 7183. PHOTO BY FREDERICK SILVERIO

At the same time, the governor, along with Bocaue Mayor JJ Santiago and Celso Cruz, chairman emeritus of the Philippine Pyrotechnic Manufacturers and Dealers Assiciation Inc. (PPMDAI), continued appealing to President Rodrigo Duterte not to impose a total ban on the sale and manufacture of fireworks in the country by next year.

“The fireworks industry is a source of livelihood for many families not only in Bulacan. Many of our countrymen will be affected and will lose their livelihood when the total ban is implemented, so we continue to call on President Duterte to just regulate the law, [but not impose] the total ban,“ Fernando said.

He added that he hopes that the President would listen to them and study the matter carefully, if only to save the fireworks industry in the country and the livelihood of those who depend on the trade.

Senator Joel Villanueva, who is from Bulacan, expressed his support for Fernando’s appeal not to impose the nationwide total ban on fireworks.

“If there is a regulatory problem, the total ban is not the answer. There has to be a deeper study before we decide on regulating or banning firecrackers,“ Villanueva, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, said.

During the inspection, the Bulacan governor was also accompanied by members of the Philippine Fireworks Association, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and the local government unit of Bocaue.

He noted that the primary objective of the inspection was the safety of the public in line with RA 7183.

The governor assured that health protocols and guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force are being observed and implemented in Bulacan amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cruz said sale of fireworks in the market dropped by more than 50 percent because of public confusion over the total ban on pyrotechnics.

It was learned that since the implementation of RA 7183 and the eruption of the pandemic this year, more than 200,000 people, including workers in fireworks factories, have been affected nationwide.

Although Bulacan officials regularly inspect fireworks and firecrackers manufacturers and dealers, Fernando still called on the public to be vigilant and to report illegal dealers.

Bulacan Police director and PCol. Lawrence Cajipe said there are 21 licensed manufacturers and 88 licensed dealers in the Bulacan this year compared to 24 manufacturers and 94 dealers last year.

Cajipe advised pyrotechnics customers to buy labeled products and from legitimate sellers only.

Prohibited firecrackers are “Goodbye Philippines,“ big triangle, kabasi, atomic bomb, pla-pla and “Goodbye Covid.“

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