Firecracker manufacturers in Lapu-Lapu City are turning to the city government and Presidential Assistant to the Visayas Michael Dino for help in light of an executive order signed by President Rodrigo Duterte regulating firecracker use.
The President signed Executive Order No. 28 confining “the use of firecrackers to community fireworks display” in order to minimize the risk of injuries and casualties.
While the use of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices is a Filipino tradition, President Duterte said stricter national laws must be enforced to regulate their use.
“As there continues to be a substantial number of firecracker-related injuries, even casualties, recorded every year, some involving mere bystanders, the promulgation of stricter national standards, rules and regulations is warranted,” he said in the EO.
That disappointed Lapu-Lapu City firecracker vendors like Flora Pongase, who had inherited her livelihood from her parents.
“Halos tibuok Barangay Babag mao ni ang panginabuhian nga nakapahuman na og mga propesyonal (Almost all residents of Barangay Babag make a living on this, and we helped our children become professionals because of it),” Pongase said.
Pongase said the city’s firecracker manufacturers have been careful in making their products and there were only few accidents.
She said they have complied with all requirements, and next month will kick-start their production of firecrackers.
The President’s order defined community fireworks display as one done “on the occasion or as part of a celebration, competition, or similar event held in a venue other than a place of residence.”
It also said the fireworks display is “under the supervision of a trained person duly licensed by the PNP.”
The President said fireworks display would also be allowed if the town or city concerned issued a permit with specific date and time, and an area in which the display will be conducted in conformity with national standards and laws.
Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza said she is still waiting for the guidelines from the Departments of Health (DOH) and Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) before addressing the concerns of pyrotechnic makers.
Radaza earlier said she would lobby for the city to be exempted from the fireworks ban since Barangay Babag relies on fireworks manufacturing for their livelihood.
Babag Barangay Chairperson Epifania Augusto said if the ban is total, then they would ask the city government to provide them with alternative livelihood options.