MANILA, Philippines – Days ahead of the New Year, the Philippine National Police has begun increasing its presence in places where firecrackers are sold, and its officers are on the lookout for illegal ones, said PNP Officer-in-Charge Lieutenant General Archie Gamboa on Saturday, December 28.
Police units would also conduct “continuous inspections” of factories, warehouses, and other premises of manufacturers of firecrackers and other pyrotechnics to check whether they followed safety guidelines.
Gamboa mentioned so-called fireworks capital Bocaue, Bulacan, as one of the areas police will be concentrating on.
The acting police chief reminded the public that manufacturing, selling, distributing, and using illegal firecrackers are punishable by imprisonment of 6 months to one year, and a fine of P20,000 to P30,000. Makers and sellers of illegal firecrackers will also have their permits and licenses revoked, and their stocks confiscated.
The PNP identified the following firecrackers as illegal:
- Giant Whistle Bomb
- Giant Bawang
- Large Judas’ Belt
- Super Lolo
- Lolo Thunder
- Atomic Bomb
- Atomic Bomb Triangulo
- Goodbye Earth
- Goodbye Bading
- Hello Colombia
- Goodbye Philippines
It is also illegal to sell any kind of firecracker or pyrotechnic material to minors.
The PNP would strictly enforce President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order no. 28, which limits the use of firecrackers and pyrotechnics to “community fireworks displays.” These activities must be supervised by a person trained and licensed by the PNP, and sanctioned by the local government.
Local governments are encouraged to organize communal fireworks displays, and to guard against illegal firecrackers.
The municpality of Carmona in Cavite, for instance, has banned several other firecrackers:
- Baby Rocket
- Sky Rocket
- El Diablo
- Paper Cups
- Pulling of Strings
- Judas’ Belt
The Carmona municipal government punishes violators with 4 months’ imprisonment and a fine of P2,000.
22 injuries thus far
Many Filipinos suffer injuries or even die from using fireworks during New Year revelries. On Friday, December 27, the Department of Health said there had been 22 cases of firecracker-related injuries since December 21.
Of those cases, 8 involved illegal firecrackers. The number of cases was 79% lower than the 5-year average, the DOH added.
The PNP encouraged citizens to report untoward incidents or crimes through the nationwide hotline 911, or through its official Facebook page. – Rappler.com