Jovenson Ong, President of the Philippine Fireworks Association and the President of Dragon Fireworks talked on Fireworks, EO 28 and DILG MC 2017-202, stating the following:
1. DILG Memorandum Circular 2017-168 dated December 19, 2017 clarifies Section 2 of EO 28. It says in MC 2017-168 Policy Guidelines Section 5.1, “In addition to the provisions of MC 2017-105, all concerned are hereby advised that: ALL ALLOWABLE CONSUMER PYROTECHNICS OR “PAILAW” MAY BE USED OUTSIDE SAID DESIGNTED COMMUNITY FIREWORKS AREAS, MEANING OUTSIDE PLACES OF RESIDENCES.”
2. MC 2017-168 Section 5.3 says, “Special Attention should be given to the stoppage of the illegal sale and discharge of Piccolo or “scratch banger” in whatever name it goes by which have been the cause of majority of fireworks related injuries.”
3. MC 2017-168 Section 7 Penal Provisions states, “Non-compliance to this Memorandum Circular shall be dealt with in accordance with pertinent laws, rules and regulations.”
4. The city ordinance of Quezon City and Las Piiias are non compliant to MC 2017-168 and to EO 28 and RA 7183. We implore the good mayors of these two cities to allow their citizens to use safer pyrotechnics. Banning both firecrackers and pyrotechnics will only lead to more injuries and more serious injuries as studies here and abroad show that if we ban the use of fireworks, illegal entities will fill up the gap as they will supply to fit the demand. World Health Organization (WHO) studies show that people tend to use bigger firecrackers when there is a ban, and no one uses pyrotechnics, as it is easy to catch. This is the total opposite of what EO 28 wants, which is to dissuade people to use firecrackers (labintador) and push them into using safer pyrotechnics (pailaw).
5. The DOH will do a better job if they focus their efforts on helping the fireworks industry ask other government agencies and LGUs stop the proliferation of Piccolo, which accounts for almost 70% of fireworks related injuries, with sari-sari stores being the main sellers of Piccolos throughout the country. Instead, we should promote and encourage the use of pyrotechnics. There will always be someone who loves fireworks, or has a culture, tradition or belief to light fireworks. Why should we criminalize them by making laws that run contrary to their culture and beliefs? We should instead look for ways to offer them safer alternatives like pyrotechnics, and dissuade them from using firecrackers, especially those firecrackers not passing standards tests conducted by the DTI.
6. More governments abroad are coming out of bans and into regulation. Out of the 9 states that ban fireworks in the United States, 8 have come out of bans, and the remaining one will legislate regulations soon. Why are we regressing?
7. The Philippine Fireworks Association is at the forefront of elevating the Philippine Fireworks Industry, so that we can employ more people while balancing public safety and health. We are in close coordination with the PNP and now crafting a new Product Standards with the DTI. We would appreciate it if the DOH will be working with us in concerted and honest efforts to really eliminate firework-related injuries. Only through proper regulation will this be possible.