MANILA, Philippines – As the New Year celebrations draw near, the government cracks down on harmful fireworks as it aims to ensure less injuries and deaths from fireworks.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) are set to begin joint inspections of manufacturing sites and warehouses, to make sure there are no stockpiling of pyrotechnics which often lead to accidents and fires.
Local government officials have also been instructed to strictly enforce existing laws which prohibit the sale of dangerous fireworks.
According to the 2012 Fireworks-Related Injury Surveillance, Metro Manila recorded the highest number of firecracker-related injuries. Last year, the Department of Health said the number of firework-related incidents towards the 2013 New Year’s eve was the lowest in the past 5 years.
Republic Act 7183, or an Act Regulating the Sale, Manufacture, and Use of Firecrackers and other Pyrotechnic Devices, controls “the manufacture, sale, distribution and use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices consistent with, and in furtherance of, public safety, order and national security, as well as the enhancement of the cultural traditions.”
Based on the Act, only the following firecrackers are allowed to be sold by accredited manufacturers:
- baby rockets
- small trianggulo
- pulling of strings
- paper caps
- el diablo
- Judah’s belt
- sky ticket or kwitis
Other types of similar explosive content are also allowed. Of pyrotechnic devices, the accepted ones are:
- jumbo regular and special
- roman candle
- whistle device
- all kinds of pyrotechnic “pailaw”
Any firecrackers or pyrotechnic devices that contain explosive content that “could endanger life and limb,” like atomic big triangle and super lolo are prohibited, as well as other types of firecracker with more than 0.2 grams or more 1/3 teaspoon of explosives.
Those found guilty of selling or manufacturing prohibited firecrackers may be fined P20,000-P30,000, imprisoned for 6 months to a year, or both.
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas also warned local officials of improvised guns or “boga,” a device made of polyvinyl chloride pipe most prominent during the holiday season.
According to a statement released Wednesday, December 18, Roxas asked the provincial government to order logical government units “to take the lead in conducting information campaign against the use of deadly firecrackers within their respective areas of jurisdiction.”
He also reminded local officials to ensure the sites where firecrackers are manufactured, displayed or exhibited follow the law.
Under RA 7183 the following must be followed:
- Manufacturing zones must be 300 meters away form the nearest residential areas
- Display centers must be separated from each other with firewall and fire-prevention equipment such as fire extinguishers
- Smoking, testing of firecrackers and pyrotechnics, and anything that could trigger fire should be kept away from these zones
– with reports from Natashya Gutierrez/Rappler.com
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