DOLE-7 issues stoppage order against firecracker factory after explosion

By Norman V. Mendoza |November 29,2017 - 11:12 PM

THE Department of Labor and Employment in Central Visayas (DOLE-7) has issued an order to a firecracker factory in Lapu-Lapu City to immediately stop the production and selling of firecrackers.

The stoppage order was issued after DOLE-7 found out that the firecracker factory, located in Barangay Babag, has been operating without license to manufacture and deal firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices. The factory also does not have fire safety inspection certificate and business permit from Lapu-Lapu City.

DOLE-7 also found out that the factory staff did not undergo proper training and orientation in implementing safety to manufacture firecrackers.

The factory’s owners, Jonathan Amistad and his wife Argentina, have been ordered by DOLE-7 OIC-Regional Director Cyril Ticao to appear before the regional office and cooperate in the investigation.

DOLE-7’s investigation started in November 23, a day after an explosion inside the factory.

The explosion injured the Amistad couple, their eight-year-old daughter and three neighbors.

Based on the initial investigation, the explosion inside the factory was caused by a spark generated by the metal used in compressing the black powder inside the cap of the firecracker shell.

The order issued by DOLE-7 stated that all of the observations and deficiencies found in the factory are indications of the respondents’ laxity in implementing safety and health rules within the worksite, which clearly exposed the workers to imminent dangerous conditions.

The stoppage order will only be lifted once all the unsafe practices exposing the owner or workers to danger have been addressed or abated and all other deficiencies have been corrected.

Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza said the City Legal Office has been drafting an agreement to mandate firecracker associations in the city to require its members to get a clearance from the barangay for monitoring purposes.

Radaza, who met with the Rambolete Pyro Corporation where Amistad was a former member, said the association revealed that Amistad has not renewed his factory’s license.

But the mayor reiterated that though the association is no longer connected with Amistad, Rambolete Pyro Corporation still bears the responsibility to monitor the firecracker factory.

Radaza added that the association needs to act on factories that may destroy the firecracker and pyrotechnic business in the city.

“I warned them to report these illegal manufacturing of firecrackers or pyrotechnics, or they will be ordered to stop their business,” said Radaza.

She also reminded the barangay officials of Babag to make an effort to monitor illegal firecracker factories as it is the only barangay in the city permitted to produce firecrackers.

She also asked the City Legal Office to regulate the selling of ingredients and chemicals by licensed suppliers to verify if the buyers are legitimate firecracker and pyrotechnic manufacturers.

Babag Barangay Captain Epifania Augusto said Amistad failed to pay the renewal fee, which costs around P2,000.

“Lisud pud kaayo sa mga barangay officials ang pag-monitor ana nila kay tago-tago ang pagbuhat (It’s also difficult for the barangay officials to monitor them as they do it discreetly),” said Augusto.

Police Senior Insp. Felix Cleopas III, chief of Hoops Dome Police Station, said they are still on the process of completing documents for the filing of criminal charges against the Amistad couple.

“Nangita pa sab ta og mo-witness ug complainant against sa mga Amistad para sa pag-file sa kaso (We are also looking for witnesses and complainants against the Amistads for the filing of the case),” said Cleopas.

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