Friday, October 26, 2012

PNP vows crackdown on illegal firecracker

PPMDAI's Celso Cruz showing legal fireworks.

GUIGUINTO, Bulacan—The Philippine National Police (PNP) vowed to crackdown on illegal pyrotechnics products as the yuletide season draw near.

This developed, the PNP also advised pyrotechnics manufactures in Luzon attending a safety workshop here yesterday to be responsible in production in order to achieve the zero pyrotechnics related injuries this year.

The workshop was organized by the Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers Dealers Association Inc., (PPMDAI) which drew participants from northern, central and southern Luzon.

Chief Superintendent Raul Petrasanta, head of the Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) told the STAR that they will confiscate illegal pyrotechnics products which include oversized firecrackers and smuggled fireworks.

“We have the responsibility to ensure safety of the people and we will do it by confiscating illegal pyrotechnics products,” he said.
Daway (L), Petrasanta (R)

Petrasanta explained that any pyrotechnics products with over .2 grams of chemical content are illegal.

Some of the oversize pyrotechnics that the PNP warned to confiscate include pla-pla, super lolo, lolo thunder, bin-laden, goodbye Philippines, goodbye Gloria, kwiton bomb, and giant whistle bomb.

Other smaller products like piccolo and watusi are also banned due to danger it pose on children.

With regards to smuggled products, he explained that it cannot be allowed, otherwise, the domestic pyrotechnic industry will continue to suffer.

This was affirmed by Senior Superintendent Ferdinand Daway, the chief of the PNP explosives management division.

Daway said that law governing pyrotechnics manufacture, sales and distribution in the country only allowed totally knocked down materials.

“It is illegal to import pyrotechnics unless it is totally knocked down,” he said.

 Daway noted that smuggled fireworks are openly sold in in the domestic market.

He said that some businessmen are smuggling the said products and passing it to the market as local manufactured by stripping its label and replacing it with local labels.

This scheme, the PPMDAI said has been going on for about 10 years.

Participants to Fireworks Safety Training Workshop
Vimie Erese, the president of the PPMDAI admitted that said scheme has caused decline in the domestic pyrotechnics industry.

She said that at present, there are only 20 registered manufacturers in the country compared to 40 last year.

“We are still struggling not only because of high cost of raw materials imported from abroad but with the presence of smuggled products that some businessmen are distributing locally,” she said.

For his part, Engineer Celso Cruz, the chairman emeritus of the PPMDA explained that for some businessmen, it is more profitable to smuggle pyrotechnics than produce it locally.

“It is so easy, they will not maintain workers, they will only need a warehouse.  But the said practices is killing the industry,” Cruz said.

The commercial pyrotechnics industry was born in Bulacan in the late 1800s when a Spanish friar taught a young man in Sta. Maria town to mix black powder to produce skyrockets or kwitis which they used in waking up people for the annual misa de gallo.  (Dino Balabo)