Silent New Year? President Rodrigo Duterte is very much likely to ban firecrackers all over the Philippines starting next year, 2017. This is after a huge explosion occurred in Bocaue, Bulacan this Wednesday morning, October 12, at around 10 a.m., killing two people and injured at least 24 others, according to Bocaue Police (Acting) Chief Charlie Cabradilla.
Based on initial investigation by Bulacan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), the fire started at Gonzales Firecracker store in Barangay Biñan-1st, owned by a certain Gina Gonzales, who reportedly is one of the fatalities. A total of 10 commercial establishments and 6 vehicles were severely damaged.
According to Bulacan Provincial Bureau of Fire Protection, the fire has reached the 4th alarm, and at least three explosions were heard in the area. Twenty fire trucks joined forces, and fire was placed under control at around 1:05 p.m. On the other hand, 4 ambulances arrived and immediately brought the injured victims to the nearest hospitals.
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And although President Duterte has not yet commented on this latest explosion in Bocaue related to firecrackers, he has been very vocal during his presidential campaign that he will ban firecrackers nationwide if he gets elected. His announcement was immediately supported by environmental groups such as EcoWaste and Bangon Kalikasan Movement.
Unlike in many other areas in the country where using firecrackers is a traditional way to welcome the New Year, firecrackers are ban in Davao City. Thanks to then-Mayor Rody Duterte, who passed the firecracker ban ordinance on October 15, 2002. This means that manufacturing, selling, distribution, possession, or use of firecrackers is strictly prohibited.
Republic Act 7183 (or Firecracker Law) was enacted back in 1992 to regulate the sale, manufacture, distribution and use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices in the country. Nevertheless, powerful firecracker blasts occurred in 2004 and 2007, both also in Bocaue. Not to mention the hundreds of fireworks-related injuries every year, especially on New Year’s Eve.
But while the banning of firecrackers nationwide would not only keep people safe, the firecracker industry will greatly suffer and many people will be jobless. However, Duterte said back then that he might consider allowing some major firecracker manufacturers only if they will not sell it locally, and instead to foreign countries where it is allowed.