SANTA MARIA, Bulacan – With New Year’s celebration just a few weeks away, fireworks stakeholders in Bulacan were recently assured that the use and manufacture of firecrackers are not totally banned, only its use was regulated.
This was the assurance given to firecracker manufacturers and dealers by Celso Cruz, vice chairman of the Pyrotechnic Regulatory Board (PRB) of Bulacan and chairman emeritus of the Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association Inc. (PPMDAI), during the recent fireworks stakeholders consultation conducted at the Senior Citizen Hall in this town otherwise known as the fireworks manufacturers’ capital of Bulacan.
Cruz pointed out that Executive Order 28 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in June this year regulates only the use of firecracker products to designated fireworks display areas compared to pyrotechnic products that can be used even within residential areas.
The executive order plus the work stoppage order by the labor department late last year on the fireworks industry have caused anxieties on the manufacturers and dealers of firecrackers that raises speculations for a total firecracker ban in the country like what was imposed in Davao City by President Rodrigo Duterte when he was still the mayor in the city.
These have caused a big dent in the production of firecracker products, participants to the consultation said and added it forced many of them not to acquire permits and licenses causing speculations that many of them would go underground in their production of firecracker products.
However, Cruz said that all is not yet lost for the industry can still rise from its current predicament.
He advised firecracker stakeholders, most of whom engaged in the traditional method of manufacturing, to upgrade the manufacturing processes that they are used to.
Cruz pointed out that firecracker manufacturers should refrain from using the cheaper chemicals potassium chlorate and sulfur, that were already banned in other countries for more than a hundred years because of its unstable conditions when mixed, and instead use potassium perchlorate that is more stable but cost higher.
He added that the Pyrotechnic Regulatory Board of Bulacan has also approached the Department of Science and Technology for it to come out with safer and more stable products that can minimize if not eradicate accidental explosions that lead to physical injuries and sometimes deaths to its users.
Angelina Parungao, provincial director of DOST in Bulacan, has confirmed that several programs were already approved to help upgrade the fireworks industry.
Cynthia Abiol, head of the Provincial Cooperative Enterprise Development Office (PCEDO), on the other hand, explained that their office can help stakeholders, most of whom are small-time entrepreneurs, to cope up with the requirements in upgrading their production processes that could produce safer and more stable products.
She advised them to form a cooperative so that they can pool their resources towards an innovative production process in the fireworks industry.
Abiol explained to the participants of the consultation that the PCEDO has a program that could extend financial help to entrepreneurs that have only a small interest.
Photos by RR ELEOGO