Firecracker manufacturers might want to look for another source of livelihood amid government plans to ban these dangerous items for the sake of public safety and health, President Duterte declared Monday.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte presides over a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members prior to his talk to the people at the Arcadia Active Lifestyle Center in Matina, Davao City on December 21, 2020.

The President bewailed the annual cases of firecracker-related injuries and how its makers have long skirted responsibility for their products due to lack of labels and warnings.  As a result, the government is having difficulty running after these companies in case of injuries during the New Year’s Eve revelry, Duterte said.
“‘Yung Bocaue, I really understand you. I might even sympathize with you. Loss of earnings and you are driven out of business. But the problem is the higher duty of government to protect public interest, public health,” he said in a televised address Monday night.
“Why would I allow a product that is a hazard to the health and life, and probably losing your life or limb? …Iniisip ko ‘yan na panahon na siguro na  (Maybe it is time that) you shift to another or look for something where you can use the powders there,” he added.
The President affirmed his plan to restrict the sale of deadly firecrackers despite a reported appeal from Bulacan officials to reconsider such plan to save jobs of workers in the fireworks industry.  Bocaue, Bulacan is a known trading hub of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices in the country.
He said the Philippines is one of the few countries that allow firecrackers “with wild abandon.” He said firecrackers sold in the country are not properly marked with the manufacturer’s name and do not have safety warning.
“You do not assume any responsibility at all. Wala akong nakita na may hinabol ang gobyerno at nakulong dahil sa inferior or wrongly-manufactured firecrackers. Until and unless we can come up with that, wala tayong mahabol sa inyo (I have not seen any manufacturer pursued by the government and went to jail due to inferior or wrongly manufactured firecrackers. Until and unless we can come up with that, we cannot run after you),” he said.
“Basta kayo balot lang nang balot, walang warranties that this is a good thing to do except kung may mga caveat kayo, may mga warnings, ‘Please do not do it,’ ganoon. Wala. Walang pangalan, walang mahabol ang tao (You just make these items without warranties that ‘This is a good thing to do except..’ You put a caveat, you put warnings ‘Please do not do it.’ Nothing. No name, the people can’t run after you) And yet, they are using a product made by you which is capable of death, be getting blind, losing your fingers in the years that dumaan (that passed),” he said.
He said a child losing a finger to a firecracker should already put the government on notice.
“I’m a worker of government sa national, bakit ko payagan na ‘yang paputok na maraming madisgrasya, maraming mamatay? (why would I allow firecrackers that cause injuries, deaths?)” he said.
“Dapat diyan with every product that is sold to the public, government must have an intervention or to interdict something which is really not good,” he added.
In 2017, Duterte signed Executive Order No. 28 regulating and controlling the use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic device in a bid to curb fire-related injuries and casualties. Only community firework displays are permitted as designated places under police supervision to minimize the risk of injuries.
Early this month, the President expressed concern about the dangers of firecrackers, adding that he was considering a total ban on use of firecrackers in the country next year.

Source: Manila Bulletin (