BULACAN: Mayor Joni Villanueva-Tugna of Bocaue town is appealing to the Department Of Labor and Employment to re-consider its work stoppage order in all firecrackers and pyrotechnics factories in the country.
Villanueva said that pyrotechnics production is a legitimate industry that provides a decent source of income for town residents and the neighboring municipalities.
“We appeal for reconsideration, especially that this is now the Christmas season and it would be an unfortunate time to be unemployed,” Villanueva said.
She said that there are enterprises which have been operating for decades and have clean records and have been complying with safety standards.
Instead of a total ban on fireworks, Villanueva instead proposed for fireworks zoning, where the industry would be contained in a specific area and frequent random checking would be strict and thorough to ensure100 percent safety compliance.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd on Thursday ordered a work stoppage order against all establishments engaged in the manufacture and sale of pyrotechnics and firecrackers citing grave and imminent danger to the health and safety of workers in fireworks factories.
The order was issued in the wake of the recent accidents that hit the firecrackers industry in the towns of Santa Maria and Bocaue which left six people dead and 30 others injured.
Last Wednesday, two young children and their mother died while six others were wounded in a blast at AA Firecracker Manufacturing at Sitio Bangka-Bangkaan, Barangay Pulong Buhangin in Santa Maria, Bulacan.
On October 12, three persons also died, including a firecrackers store owner, and 24 others were injured in a massive explosion at a group of fireworks shops in Barangay Binang 1st, Bocaue also in Bulacan.
The secretary also instructed the DOLE regional director, with technical assistance from the Occupational Safety and Health Center and Bureau of Working Conditions, to assess compliance with occupational safety and health standards and general labor standards in such establishments in coordination with the Philippine National Police, the Bureau of Fire Protection and local government units.
The order will only be lifted on compliant establishments based on recommendation of the DOLE regional director, who shall submit weekly reports of assessment activities and assistance would be provided to workers who would be affected by the work stoppage order.
President Rodrigo Duterte in an earlier statement said that he was considering imposing a nationwide ban on the use of firecrackers during the Christmas and New Year celebrations but the total ban on firecracker manufacturing and use could no longer be implemented this year as the Yuletide season has already started.
Duterte said it is now too late to impose the ban because firecracker and fireworks manufacturers have already invested.