• Senate inquiry into fireworks ban sought

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    ALTHOUGH the planned nationwide ban on pyrotechnics and firecrackers will not happen until September of next year, Sen. Joel Villanueva is pushing for a Senate inquiry that would determine the impact of such prohibition on the industry.

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    In a proposed Senate resolution, Villanueva wants the Senate committee on labor and employment to inquire and review, in aid of legislation, the effects of the proposed pyrotechnics and firecrackers ban.

    Malacañang has deferred the issuance of an executive order (EO) that will enforce a nationwide ban on the use of firecrackers and pyrotechnics amid concerns from the industry.

    Under the proposed EO, the use of firecrackers will be regulated and limited for the use of trained professionals, and in controlled areas only.

    No less than President Rodrigo Duterte admitted that banning firecracker use this year was already “too late.”

    Villanueva, in his proposed resolution, noted that the based on the records of the Department of Labor and Employment, workers in Central Luzon, Central Visayas and Negros would be affected by the proposed firecracker and pyrotechnics ban.

    An organization of fireworks makers called on the public to rally behind the government’s campaign against banned and dangerous firecrackers.

    Joven Ong, president of the Philippine Fireworks Association, also appealed to relevant agencies, particularly the Philippine National Police (PNP), to block imported fireworks smuggled into the country.

    Ong also called on the PNP to apprehend those selling illegal fireworks, especially the banned “Piccolo” which had accounted for 57 percent of all fireworks-related injuries.

    “What is saddening is that illegal fireworks sellers can openly sell their products while some legitimate fireworks companies are having a hard time securing permits from the local government units,” Ong said.

    The Department of Health said 70 cases of fireworks-related injuries had been reported as of December 27.
    Of the 70 cases, 69 were blast injuries from firecrackers while one was considered a case of ingestion.

    “Half of these are from National Capital Region and of these blast injuries, more than half are caused … by illegal, illegal fireworks like the piccolo and the boga,” Health Undersecretary Gerardo Bayugo told reporters in Malacañang.

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