Senators back review of law regulating firecrackers

Published February 23, 2021, 6:33 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senators on Tuesday, February 23, raised the need to evaluate the country’s existing law that regulates the sale, manufacture, distribution and use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices and “find out its weaknesses.”

Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, said that while Congress is pushing for an effective regulation on the use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices, the government should not forget Filipinos who are dependent on the sale of these goods, especially during this pandemic.

“Given that we are still battling the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no piece of legislation too small, if it means safeguarding the health and well-being of our people. After all, it is our mandate to ensure that all Filipinos are safe and healthy,” Dela Rosa said during the Senate panel’s hearing on the various measures that seek a review of Republic Act No. 7183.

“Our government allows and respects customs and traditions as long as they are within the bounds of safety and are not contrary to public policy. However, if there comes a time that some aspects of these traditions and customs become harmful, it would be fitting for our government to step in,” Dela Rosa added.

According to Dela Rosa, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Technical Education, Skills and Development Authority (TESDA), and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and other related government agencies should study the possible programs that would promote the country’s fireworks industry vis-à-vis stricter regulations on the sale, manufacturing and use of firecrackers.

He said the government should do more in promoting programs that imposes the use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices in designated places and handled by trained individuals in compliance with Executive Order No. 28, issued by President Duterte.

The EO, issued by the President during his first year in office, allows the use of firecrackers and other similar devices only in areas designated by local government units, and only conducted under the supervision of licensed professionals, such as during the annual Philippine International Pyromusical Competition.

Sen. Joel Villanueva echoed Dela Rosa’s call, as he also noted there seems to be a problem in the implementation of the law and could be one of the main reasons why some fireworks manufacturers and sellers choose not to comply with it.“Hopefully, the PNP (Philippine National Police) could provide us information on how we are doing with the implementation of RA 7183, because at the end of the day, even if we pass another law, it still will not be effective if we will not implement it properly,” Villanueva stressed, also during the hearing.