193 held over illegal firecrackers
(2nd UPDATE) MANILA, Philippines - Nearly 200 people have been arrested or questioned by police in Metro Manila in connection with the use and trade of illegal firecrackers Monday morning, December 31, as the country awaits the entry of 2013.
As of 7 pm, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) reported 193 people have been arrested after 434 operations.
NCRPO has also confiscated the following illegal firecrackers
- Piccolo: 826 boxes + 660 pcs + 12 reams + 19 packs
- One truckload of assorted firecrackers and pyrotechnics (Manila)
- 2 loads of assorted firecrackers and pyrotechnics in pick-up trucks (Quyezon City)
- 2 jeeploads of assorted firecrackers and pyrotechnics (Eastern Police District)
They have also closed down 47 stalls and 35 ambulant vendors selling the said items.
Nine people, on the other hand, have been arrested for indiscriminate firing. Six firearms and 3 empty shells have been recovered as evidence, the NCRPO said.
The arrests and confiscations were made after various government agencies were called to a meeting by President Aquino to discuss the intensified move against illegal firecrackers and pyrotechnics.
Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras said the meeting was called Sunday, December 30, to make sure the contraband will be confiscated.
Officials of the Department of Health, the Philippine National Police, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Bureau of Fire Protection attended the meeting.
In addition, the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), and the Bureau of Customs are also involved in monitoring the transport of the illegal goods.
There is also the call from the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) for people not to use sky lanterns over densely populated areas.
The BFP said these lanterns, usually illuminated by candles or lighted oil/alcohol, can pose danger when they fall on roofs or any combustible material, particularly over residential areas.
"It is suggested that sky lanterns should only be allowed to be used in Bay areas and open field spaces to avoid any detrimental effects which may cause fires that will result in severe loss of lives and properties," the bureau said in a statement.
Individual fireworks containing not more than 0.2 grams (0.007 ounces) of explosive material are allowed by law, but police told the meeting they had seized P11.9 million ($29,000) worth of illegal fireworks. - Rappler.com, with a report from the Agence France-Presse
How are you celebrating New Year? #Start2013Right! Tag @rapplerdotcom on Twitter or email firstname.lastname@example.org and share your ideas on how to celebrate while saying #NoToFirecrackers.