A group of exasperated fireworks and pyrotechnic sellers in Bocaue, Bulacan complained Monday that they are reeling from huge financial losses due to poor sales with the ban on the sale and use of their products in some local government units (LGUs).
They appealed to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to only prohibit the use of fireworks that are included in the banned list and not to totally prevent them from selling their items that are safe.
However, the DILG stressed that even if fireworks display is not banned it is up to the LGUs to approve or prohibit their use and sale based on existing ordinances.
DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said that the fireworks sellers should first check with the LGUs if the use and sale of their products are lawful in the concerned areas.
Even with the power vested in the LGUs whether to prohibit or permit the sale and use of fireworks and firecrackers, several sellers claimed that the DILG might have secretly “twisted the arm’’ of the LGUs that led to the total ban.
Ato Sobrejano a worker in a firecracker store in Bocaue, Bulacan insisted that the DILG’s influence over the LGUs with regards to the ban on the use and sale of their products is not farfetched.
“Karamihan ng mga mayor ilag sa DILG kaya pinagbawal talaga nila ang pagbebenta at paggamit nito (Most of the mayors are intimidated by the DILG that is why they banned its (fireworks) use and sale),’’ Sobrejano said.
But DILG Secretary Eduardo Año will have none of that insisting the claim is outright false and baseless.
“That is an absurd allegation and that is not true. It is within the authority and discretion of the Local Chief Executives (whether to permit or ban the sale of fireworks),’’ Año clarified.
Año explained that the DILG is merely implementing Republic Act 7183 and Executive Order 28 s2016 emphasizing that the LGUs “may impose stricter rules through local ordinances based on Sec 16 of the Local Government Code to ensure the safety of its constituents.’’
Another fireworks seller who requested anonymity said that the government should also ban the consumption and sale of cigarettes and intoxicated drinks and beverages if their concern is public health safety.
“Kung delikado paggamit ng mga pailaw dapat pagbawal din ang pagbenta ng alak at sigarilyo (If the use of pyrotechnics is banned then the sale of liquor and cigarettes should also be prohibited), he added.
The fireworks seller pointed out more deaths and injuries caused by the consumption of liquor and cigarettes than the use of fireworks.
“Malayo ang depresencia ng mga namamatay dahil sa alak at sigarilyo kumpara sa mga pailaw (The difference in the number of casualties because of liquor and cigarettes is huge compared to the use of pyrotechnics),’’ the fireworks seller insisted.
When pressed for comment, Año advised the complaining fireworks merchants to air their grievances to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the agency that can “best represent their interest.’’ In conclusion, Año maintained that the LGUs are simply “adhering to the statements of PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) as he told the sellers that they may also “seek audience with their respective mayors to manifest their issues and requests.’’