Mayor Joni Villanueva of Bocaue, Bulacan, has ordered strict inspection of permits of fireworks and firecracker manufacturers and dealers, as well as fireworks stores along national and provincial roads in this town, after an explosion that happened in a row of fireworks stores that killed two and injured 24 on Wednesday morning along Manila North Road Highway in Barangay Binang 1st in Bocaue.
In order to prevent explosions and accidents where many lives are lost, Villanueva said, the local government of Bocaue will conduct mandatory inspection spearheaded by the Bocaue police and the Bureau Of Fire Protection of fireworks businesses to ensure strict compliance with the firecracker laws.
She said she wants to avoid disasters in the fireworks industry during her term.
Based on their records, according to Villanueva, Gina’s Fireworks and Chemical Distributor and Liberty Fireworks had permits to operate to sell but she said they are not ruling out that a violation may have been committed that led to the powerful explosion that rocked Barangay Binang 1st.
The provincial government also ordered the Bulacan police to conduct rigid inspection of fireworks stalls and shops in Bocaue and other towns engaged in firecrackers production -and make sure that they are strictly complying with Republic Act 7183.
Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado instructed the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Office to deploy firetrucks and rescue teams and other responders to areas where rows of fireworks stores are located particularly in the towns of Bocaue, Santa Maria and Baliuag and parts of San Ildefonso and San Miguel.
The fatalities were identified as Ma. Gina Gonzales, 48, owner of Gina’s Fireworks and a resident of Barangay Bundukan, and Manuel “Gigi” Ayala, 65, former barangay (village) captain of Binang 1st.
Most of the injured, including passengers of a public utility vehicle that was passing along the MacArthur Highway, suffered burns.
Six other vehicles were damaged by the blast and damage was estimated at more than P20 million.
Meanwhile, Celso Cruz, a chemical engineer and chairman emeritus of the Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association Inc. (PPMDAI), said they will form an inspection team that will conduct post-blast investigation to determine what really caused the explosion.
“At the same time, we will also coordinate with the police to inspect stores because like Gonzales, most of the traders as well manufacturers have already undergone the safety training seminars jointly conducted by the PPMDAI and the Philippine National Police-Civil Security Group as part of the Implementing Rules and Regulations in securing licenses and permits,” Cruz added.
He said the investigation should be done by experts who can scientifically explain the root cause of the incident.