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Firecracker production drops

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BOCAUE, Bulacan –The production of legal firecrackers for the New Year celebration has drastically dropped.

With President Rodrigo Duterte’s signing of Executive Order 28 (regulating the use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices) in June 2017, the production of local firecrackers was slashed by 50 percent that year due to misinterpretation on its implementation, said Lea Alapide, president of the Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association, Inc.

“Production of legal firecrackers again drew flak this year when Malacañang issued Memorandum Circular 31 in the last quarter of (2018) that stopped the issuance of new permits and licenses for those involved in the fireworks industry,” Alapide said in an interview on Wednesday.

She also said that manufacturers of legal firecrackers mostly belong to the backyard and micro-scale entrepreneurs.

Supt. Amado Mendoza Jr., Bocaue police chief, has confirmed that based on their monitoring, about 80 percent of the products being sold in fireworks stores in Bocaue were aerial fireworks display products. He said traditional sparklers and firecrackers now have a 20 percent share of the market.

Based on Bulacan’s Pyrotechnic Regulatory Board (PRB), the province’s fireworks industry directly provides livelihood opportunities to at least 100,000 individuals.

In 2017, the PRB estimated that some 20,000 individuals were still directly benefitting from the livelihood opportunities of the fireworks industry.

However, fireworks stakeholders, who do not want to be identified, said the local industry has now suffered a slump in production and that only a few big-time fireworks manufacturers in the country are left struggling to keep the industry afloat.

These few big-time fireworks manufacturers are those who were able to shift from the old technology to the safer and modern mode in pyrotechnics manufacturing and mainly concentrate on aerial displays.

The PRB data showed that traditional fireworks manufacturers have been using technology that had already been banned in other countries for more than a century.

Joven Ong, president of the Philippine Fireworks Association, said that big-time manufacturers, like Dragon Fireworks, employ foreign experts to upgrade the local industry and mostly produces aerial fireworks display products so as not to compete with traditional manufacturers that mainly produce firecrackers and sparklers. (RONDA Balita Online News)

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