With the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) remaining a threat, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday, Dec. 28 ordered an intense drive against the use, sale and distribution of prohibited firecrackers and crackdown on indiscriminate firing to ensure public safety as the New Year approaches.

“Now is not the right time to be complacent and that the LGUs (local government units), the PNP (Philippine National Police) and BFP (Bureau of Fire Protection) should see to it that people are adhering to alert level protocols and obeying rules on the use of firecrackers during the New Year’s Eve celebration,” said DILG Secretary Eduardo Año.

“Maliban sa kaligtasan mula sa COVID-19 (coronavirus disease-2019), nais nating maging ligtas ang bawat isa sa iligal na paputok at indiscriminate firing. Habang papalapit ang New Year, nagsusulputan pa rin ang mga ipinagbabawal na paputok. Kaya inaatasan ko ang PNP na doblehin ang pagmomonitor at pag-iinspeksyon para siguruhing hindi kakalat sa merkado at walang gagamit o madidisgrasya sa iligal na paputok (Aside from being safe against COVID-19, we want to ensure that everyone is safe from prohibited firecrackers and indiscriminate firing. As New Year nears, illegal firecrackers are appearing. That is why I have tasked the PNP to double its efforts in monitoring and conducting inspections to ensure that illegal fireworks won’t reach the market and no one can use or be hurt by them),’’ Año said.

Año insisted that it is the responsibility of the PNP and the LGUs to enforce national and local policies regulating the manufacture and use of firecrackers through the conduct of inspections, and confiscation and destruction of prohibited firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices.

“Ang mga ayaw sumunod, huhulihin yan ng PNP. Mas mabuti pang sa kulungan sila mag Bagong Taon kaysa makadisgrasya o madisgrasya pa sila dahil sa iligal na paputok (To those defiant, the PNP will run after them. It is better for them to languish in jail during the New Year rather than be hurt or cause harm to others due to prohibited fireworks),’’ he said.

The penalties for those who will be caught manufacturing, selling, distributing or using illegal firecracker and pyrotechnic devices include a fine of P20,000 to P30,000, imprisonment of six months to one year, cancellation of license and business permit and confiscation of inventory stocks.

Under Memorandum Order No. 31 issued by President Duterte in 2019, the PNP, in coordination with LGUs, the BFP and other concerned agencies, is tasked to conduct inspections to ensure that manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and users of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices are complying with safety guidelines.

Recently, the PNP released a list of prohibited firecrackers/pyrotechnic devices (FC/PDs) that the public cannot use anywhere within or outside firecracker zones or designated community fireworks display areas identified by LGUs in preparation for the New Year celebration.

Prohibited FC/PDs include the Watusi, Piccolo, Poppop, Five Star, Pla-pla, Lolo Thunder, Giant Bawang, Giant Whistle Bomb, Atomic Bomb, Super Lolo, Atomic Triangle, Goodbye Bading, Large-size Judas Belt, Goodbye Philippines, Goodbye Delima, Bin Laden, Hello Columbia, Mother Rockets, Goodbye Napoles, Coke-in-Can, Super Yolanda, Pillbox, Mother Rockets, Boga, Kwiton, and Kabasi.

Other types of prohibited FC/PDs are those that are overweight and oversized, all imported finished products and those unlabeled locally-made products.

Meanwhile, the FC/PDs sold under strict regulations and are only permitted for use within LGU-designated community fireworks display areas include the Baby Rocket, Bawang, El Diablo, Judas’ Belt, Paper Caps, Pulling of Strings, Sky Rocket (Kwitis), Small Triangulo, and other types of firecrackers that are not oversized, not overweight and not imported.

“We encourage people to use regulated firecrackers in designated areas only. The police is authorized to confiscate and destroy prohibited firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices as well as firecrackers used outside of community fireworks displays,” said Año.

Executive Order (EO) No. 28, series of 2017 provides for the regulation and control of the use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices, the use of regulated firecrackers shall henceforth be confined to community fireworks displays.

It also states that a display of fireworks qualifies as a community fireworks display if it complies with all of the following conditions: (a) it is conducted on the occasion or as part of a celebration, competition, or similar event held in a venue other than a place of residence; (b) it is conducted under the supervision of a trained person duly licensed by the PNP; and (c) it is allowed by the municipality or city concerned through a permit specifying the date and time of the fireworks display and the specific area in which the display will be conducted in conformity with national standards, rules, and regulations.

Stern warning on indiscriminate firing

Año also warned against the use of firearms to welcome the New Year stressing that “the DILG will not tolerate the use of firearms in welcoming the new year. We will apply the full force of the law against those that will fire their firearms during the new year. Let’s welcome the new year with clean hands and clean hearts.’’

Año assured the public that individuals doing indiscriminate firing “will be dealt with appropriately.’’

“Napakasakit po mabalitaang may mga nasasaktan o namamatay dahil sa indiscriminate shooting. Kung iyong mga paputok nga mahigpit nating ipinagbabawal na gamitin, paano pa kaya iyong pagpapaputok ng baril (It is very frustrating to know that people get hurt or die due to indiscriminate firing. We have strict regulations against the use of illegal firecrackers how much more in the indiscriminate firing of guns),” he added.

Be disciplined, follow rules

DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya urged the public to maintain individual self-discipline in adhering to minimum public health standards (MPHS) as the country slowly loosens up the COVID-19 Alert Levels to facilitate economic recovery amid increased rate of vaccinated population.

He also enjoined the public “to be disciplined and to follow the rules on firecrackers to avoid accidents or injuries during the New Year revelry.”

“Huwag na po tayong maging matigas ang ulo. Kahit gaano kasipag ang PNP at ang mga autoridad na magtrabaho, kung hindi naman tayo disiplinado at marunong sumunod sa batas, madidisgrasya pa rin tayo (Let us not be stubborn. No matter how industrious the PNP is and the authorities in their work, if we are not disciplined and defiant of the law we will get hurt),’’ Malaya said.

Malaya pointed out that the celebration of the New Year is a perfect time for Filipinos to show discipline in obeying rules and cleaning up the trash as we leave the places that our families visit during the holidays.

“Ang Bagong Taon ay hamon sa ating lahat para maging disiplinado dahil ang simpleng gawain tulad ng pagsunod sa batas at paglilinis (environment), kapag pinagsama-sama ay ang ating ambag sa tunay na pagbabago (New Year is a challenge to all of us to be disciplined since the simple task of obeying the law and maintaining cleanliness when collectively done is our share for true change),’’ he added.

In 2019 the DILG launched “Disiplina Muna (Discipline First) national advocacy campaign which aims to rebuild the culture of discipline among Filipinos.

As part of its public safety advocacy, the BFP launched the Oplan Ligtas na Pamayanan (OLP) as their flagship program for preventing household fires.

Through a system used by local governments and fire stations, the OLP assists communities in identifying fire hazards, providing first-aid fire suppression through community fire auxiliary groups, and speeding up reporting of ongoing fires.

The OLP on the Road, in which roving patrols go around the community to remind the public to follow fire safety measures in their homes, the use of social media to disseminate fire safety reminders, and the setting up of live streaming programs in local dialects called OLP Online Live Broadcast, are just a few of the Bureau’s recent preventive efforts. (Chito A. Chavez)

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2021/12/28/ano-orders-crackdown-on-sale-of-illegal-firecrackers/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ano-orders-crackdown-on-sale-of-illegal-firecrackers)