HINIGARAN Mayor Jose Nadie Arceo on Monday said the manufacture and sale of pyrotechnics and firecrackers in their town will continue amid the work stoppage order (WSO) issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole).
Arceo had earlier told SunStar Bacolod that they cannot afford to permanently stop the town’s major industry, or else many residents will lose their livelihood.
“The total stoppage on the manufacture and sale of pyrotechnics and firecrackers in the whole country is questionable,” the mayor said, stressing that “for Hinigaran, the order has no legal basis.”
On November 24, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III issued the said WSO, following the recent explosions in fireworks shops in Bulacan that killed five people and injured 30 others.
It mandates the stoppage of work of any unit, department or entire operation of an establishment when non-compliance with occupational safety and health standards poses imminent danger to the health and safety of the employees in the workplace.
Arceo reiterated that all manufacturers and retailers in Hinigaran have secured necessary permits and licenses, and there were no incidents that could be used as ground for stopping their operations.
“They have no legal basis to stop the industry which is compliant to all the guidelines and requirements set by the government,” Arceo added.
After conducting the inspections in Hinigaran last week, Dole-Negros Occidental issued recommendations which manufacturers and retailers should comply with.
The Municipal Government then formed the Task Force Palupok along with the Philippine National Police and Bureau of Fire Protection to ensure the compliance of the residents with the said recommendations.
The Task Force is expected to submit the result of their monitoring within this week, Arceo said, adding that “pending this, manufacturing and selling are temporarily stopped.”
As long as all things are being complied based on the findings of the Task Force, Arceo said he will issue an order allowing the continuation of manufacture and sale of firecrackers in the town.
“We cannot afford to just wait for the slow-moving decision of Dole Central Office,” he said, adding that as the order extends, the income opportunity for the residents also decreases.
Hinigaran is considered the province’s firecracker capital. Of its 24 barangays, five are into production and sale of firecrackers namely, Barangays 1, Anahaw, Gargato, Miranda and Nanunga.
The Hinigaran Firecrackers Association composed of 70 manufacturers and retailers are producing at least 2,000 sacks of pyrotechnics and firecrackers, mostly triangles, annually.