By Chito Chavez
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) ordered the police and the local government units (LGU) to strictly enforce the regulations in the use of fireworks and firecrackers to prevent any untoward incidents this holiday season.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año reminded the police force and LGU leaders to be always vigilant as the holiday revelry has been marred by fire incidents and firecracker-related injuries and death.
The goal of the DILG this year is to bring to the bare minimum firecracker-induced injuries, said Año, who said full public cooperation and the strict enforcement of firecracker regulations are key essentials in attaining minimal fire incidents and injuries.
Under Republic Act 7183, an act regulating the sale, manufacture, distribution and use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic displays, the Philippine National Police (PNP) should determine what devices are prohibited.
The PNP is also tasked to promulgate rules and regulations necessary to regulate and control their use. Likewise, local chief executives are authorized to promulgate the necessary rules and regulations on firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices within their territorial jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, Executive Order 28 states the regulation and control of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices, states that the use of fireworks shall be confined to community fireworks display.
EO 28 says that fireworks display must be conducted on the occasion or as part of a celebration, competition, or similar event held in a venue other than a place of residence, and must be done under the supervision of a trained personnel duly licensed by the PNP.
Display of fireworks must also be granted permission by the concerned LGU 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.
Año added the PNP and LGUs must be cognizant in implementing the stipulations of the law to ensure the continuous decline of fireworks-related accidents during the holiday season.
Among the banned firecrackers are: watusi, piccolo, super lolo, atomic triangle, large Judas belt, large bawang, pillbox, bosa, goodbye Philippines, Bin Laden, mother rocket, lolo thunder, coke in can, atomic bomb, five star, pla-pla, giant whistle bomb and kabasi.
In the same vein, Año directed the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to never let their guard down to provide assistance in case fire incidents, including those caused by the illegal use of firecrackers.
Records from the BFP show that last New Year’s Eve, there were 14 fire incidents nationwide taking place between the evening of December 31, 2017 and January 1, 2018. Majority of fire accidents were caused by pyrotechnics and errant use of firecrackers and mostly occurring in residential areas.
BFP Spokesperson F/Supt. Joanne Vallejo said the fire bureau has been on its toes in ensuring that the season will be fire-hazard-free through its Oplan Iwas Paputok program.
Vallejo added that Oplan Iwas Paputok aims to promote public safety against fire and emergencies through intensified fire prevention information campaigns, to enforce the Fire Code, and coordinate all efforts in fire and emergency response with concerned agencies.