President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday, January 4, offered a compromise to local firecracker manufacturers that he said will hold off the imposition of a complete national ban on firecracker use intended to protect public safety.
“I’ll only allow firecrackers and everything to be done by government. And it would be the mayor himself and the chief of police who should do this,” President Duterte said in a public address.
“Iyang fireworks sa community para makita ng mga tao with all the safe distances, lahat na, social distancing doon sa pulbura, sa putukan.”
Mayors, with the help of the police, should see to it that all safety protocols are in place to prevent accidents, he noted, adding that he wants Filipinos to safely enjoy New Year celebrations and at the same time keep the livelihood of those engaged in fireworks and firecracker manufacturing business.
But the President also warned firecracker manufacturers that they should not sell their products to private individuals.
“So kayong mga taga-Bocaue ganito, kung ang local governments para New Year lang, ipagbili na lang ninyo sa lahat ng local government units. Marami ‘yan, kikita kayo kasi bibili lahat. But sell it only to the police,” he said.
“Wala na magpabili sa private ano. Gobyerno na lang at gobyerno lang ang puwedeng magpaputok. That is my… Para hindi kayo mawalaan ng hanapbuhay. You don’t lose the business,” he added.
After President Duterte’s announcement for a nationwide ban on firecracker use, local officials and firecracker manufacturers from Bulacan called on the President to defer the implementation of the prohibition, arguing producers still need to recoup their losses from weak sales as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
During this year’s holiday celebrations, Metro Manila mayors banned the sale and use of firecrackers as part of health protocol to reduce the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) during festivities.
They also want to prevent firecracker-related injuries and even deaths during the New Year revelries.
The Department of Health (DOH) has reported an 85-percent decrease in firework-related injuries this year. No firework ingestion or deaths were reported.
This year, Davao City marked its 17th year of zero firecracker-related incident since the 2002 implementation of a firework ban in the President’s home city, according to data from the Davao City Police Office. PND