Friday July 20, 2018

Hinigaran mayor: Firecracker regulation to kill town’s major industry

THE executive order (EO) regulating the use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices is a huge setback and will eventually kill the major industry of Hinigaran town, its top official said on Thursday, June 22.

Hinigaran Mayor Nadie Arceo said the move of the government will surely have an adverse impact particularly to the employment and livelihood of hundreds of town residents.

Hinigaran is considered the firecracker capital of Negros Occidental. Of its 24 barangays, five are into production and sale of firecrackers namely, Barangays 1, Anahaw, Gargato, Miranda and Nanunga.

Arceo said production and sale of firecrackers has been the main source of income of at least 100 families thus, regulating its use will surely reduce their opportunity to earn.

“The firecracker industry has been helping many of our residents for a long time, it is even a big contributor to the town’s economic growth,” the mayor said, adding that “despite our opposite sentiments, we have no choice but to comply with order of the President.”

On Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte signed executive order 28 which provided “stricter” rules and regulations on firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices as necessary measure to prevent injuries and casualties in the country.

Under the order, the Duterte ordered to confine the use of firecrackers to community displays.

The EO stated that a display of fireworks could be considered as community fireworks, if it is conducted “on the occasion or as part of a celebration, competition, or similar event held in a venue other than a place of residence.”

It should be under the supervision of a trained person duly licensed by the Philippine National Police.

Fireworks display can also be allowed if the municipality or city concerned issued a permit with specific date and time, and area in which it will be conducted, in conformity with national standards, rules and regulations.

The EO, however, stated that pyrotechnic devices other than firecrackers “may be used outside community fireworks subject to existing laws, rules and regulations.”

In December last year, the government ordered a temporary stoppage on the manufacture and sale of pyrotechnics and firecrackers nationwide after the explosions in Bulacan that killed five people and injured 30 others.

During that short ban period, huge drop in sales were already experienced by local manufacturers and retailers, Navarro Baylon, president of Hinigaran Firecracker and Pyrotechnic Manufacturers, Dealers and Retailers Association Inc., said.

Earlier pronouncements on regulating the use of firecrackers have caused worry to their members, Baylon had said.

With the new order, there is a projected reduction of more than 50 percent on both production and sales of manufacturers and retailers in Hinigaran.

Alternative livelihood

To allay the adverse effects of the regulation, the local government will seek to provide alternative livelihood to the affected residents.

Arceo said they are initially providing financial assistance for capitalization so that residents can start venturing into other business.

The mayor added that the municipal government will link them with the Department of Trade and Industry’s Negosyo Center for business and entrepreneurship trainings.

“We will also provide construction work to some residents through our piggery project,” Arceo said, adding that “we hope to create long-term measures to further address this major industry setback.”