A pro-administration lawmaker on Saturday lauded President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest directive on the use of firecrackers.
At the same time, Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte urged Congress to support it by coming up with stricter regulations on the sale, distribution, and use of pyrotechnic devices to help ensure a safer Christmas and New Year’s Day festivities for Filipinos.
“The Congress could show its unequivocal support for President Duterte’s fresh directive on stricter rules on the manufacture and use of firecrackers by passing new legislation requiring manufacturers, dealers and wholesale distributors of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices to indicate the names and addresses of all their accredited retail stores, outlets, resellers to the Firearms and Explosives Office of the Philippine National Police [PNP-FEO],” said Villafuerte.
In Memorandum Order 31, Duterte directed the PNP, among others, to confiscate and destroy prohibited firecrackers and to suspend or revoke the licenses and permits of manufacturers found violating rules on the manufacture and sale of these devices.
This as Villafuerte pushed for the passage of his House Bill 8085—which he said, jibes with President Duterte’s MO 31 as it aims to improve the existing law covering firecrackers—Republic Act No. 7183—by requiring manufacturers, dealers, and wholesale distributors of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices to report all of their accredited retail stores, outlets, re-sellers to the PNP-FEO.
Under Villafuerte’s bill, this requirement will now be a pre-requisite for the grant of a license to engage in the manufacture and wholesale distribution of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices.
Stores, outlets, dealers, distributors and resellers are also required under Villafuerte’s HB 8085 to secure a permit to sell from the PNP before they can engage in the sale or distribution of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices.
“There shall be a “one-store, one-permit” policy,” he said.
“The joy of celebrating the New Year with firecrackers is sometimes done with reckless abandon. The joy suddenly turns into horror when the use of firecrackers results in injuries, dismembered bodies, burned houses or death. Most of the time, the victims of the irresponsible use of firecrackers are innocent children,” said Villafuerte, as he underscored the need to put in place more rigid measures in regulating the sale of pyrotechnics.
In his proposal, Villafuerte said the selling of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices in places other than those indicated by the licensed manufacturers, dealers, or wholesale distributors in their application for a license permit with the PNP-FEO and without the requisite permit shall be considered illegal.
Such violation “shall be cause for the confiscation of the products and being sold without prejudice to the penalties provided herein,” the bill states.
It is also punishable with a fine of not less than P100,000 but not more than P500,000, or imprisonment of not less than six months but not more than three years, or both, upon discretion of the court.
The bill also prohibits the sale of firecrackers or other pyrotechnic devices to all persons below 18 years old.
“Children using firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices must be strictly under adult supervision,” Villafuerte said in his bill.
“Parents and guardians who shall knowingly instigate the purchase of fireworks or pyrotechnic devices by their minor child or ward shall be punished with a fine of P10,000,” the bill likewise states.