149 fireworks-related incidents recorded by PNP

149 fireworks-related incidents recorded by PNP
Photo by Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo

THE Philippine National Police (PNP) has recorded 149 incidents related to the use of firecrackers and fireworks ahead of the New Year’s Day celebration.

As of December 29, 2023, the PNP said two persons were killed while 107 others were wounded due to firecrackers.

The fatalities were victims of the explosion of firecrackers inside a delivery truck parked at a terminal in Marikina City on December 17.

Out of the 149 fireworks-related incidents, 36 involved the illegal possession, use, or sale of firecrackers, which resulted in the arrest of 12 individuals.

The PNP said it has confiscated illegal fireworks with a total estimated cost of P224,130. It includes piccolo, pop-pop, five star, pla-pla, giant bawang, Judas belt, boga, kwiton, sawa, Roman candle, and Kingkong, among others.

PNP Chief Benjamin Acorda Jr. said the number of firecracker-related injuries for 2023 is significantly lower than the recorded incidents in 2021 and 2022, which were 284 and 197, respectively.

The PNP also recorded seven cases of illegal firearms, resulting in injury to one person.

In 2021, 25 incidents of illegal discharge of firearms were recorded, resulting in one injury, while in 2022, there were 26 incidents that resulted in injuries to 19 people.

Cooperation

Photo by Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo

Together with Bulacan Governor Daniel Fernando, Acorda conducted an inspection in Bocaue, Bulacan, which is known as the country’s fireworks capital.

Acorda and Fernando warned the sellers about the sale of illegal firecrackers.

“Well, I am happy with the inspection that we just did. Wala naman tayong nakitang mga illegal na binibenta and in fact, with the support, ‘yung mga mismong manufacturers, sila mismo ang nag-cooperate in ensuring ‘yung pagsunod sa provisions of the law. And also, we are happy with the very active support of our LGUs (local government units),” said Acorda.

(Well, I am happy with the inspection that we just did. We didn't find any illegal sales, and in fact, with the support of the manufacturers themselves, they cooperated to ensure compliance with the provisions of the law. Also, we are happy with the very active support of our LGUs.)

Acorda reiterated the PNP’s intensified operations against the manufacturing and sale of illegal firecrackers, especially since New Year’s Day is fast approaching.

For his part, Fernando reiterated the government’s warning against the illegal online selling of fireworks and firecrackers.

He said that they are in close coordination with various online shopping applications to curb such activities, particularly the sale of illegal firecrackers, which poses a risk to public safety.

Fernando said he also directed the police to conduct inspections in residential houses in Bocaue and nearby areas as a preventive measure against the manufacturing of illegal fireworks and firecrackers.

In June, 18 people were injured due to a fire that hit a storage area for fireworks in Bocaue. The storage facility was located in a residential area.

In November 2022, 10 were hurt following an explosion in a residential house turned fireworks factory in Sta. Maria, Bulacan.

Acorda and Fernando also urged the public to patronize only legal fireworks and firecrackers.

No shortage

Photo by Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo

Meanwhile, Jovenson Ong, president of the Philippine Fireworks Association, said there is ample supply of fireworks for the upcoming New Year’s celebration, which means there is no expected surge in its prices compared to last year.

He said prices of fireworks and pyrotechnics were 30 to 40 percent lower than that of last year.

“To give you an example, ‘yung 16 shots po dito last year umabot ng P2,200, ngayon po makakabili kayo ng P1,400 to P1,500 lang,” said Ong.

(To give you an example, the 16 shots here last year cost P2,200, but now you can buy them for only P1,400 to P1,500.)

Ong appealed to the government to not totally prohibit the manufacturing and sale of fireworks, noting that it serves as the main source of livelihood for many Bocaueños.

He expressed support for the government's efforts to enhance operations against illegal fireworks manufacturers.

“Kung gusto natin talagang masawata ito, i-trace natin ang source or ‘yung mga nagbebenta ng kemikal na ginagamit ng mga illegal na nagmamanufacture ng mga paputok,” said Ong.

(If we really want to eradicate this, let's trace the source or those who sell the chemicals used by illegal manufacturers of fireworks.) (SunStar Philippines)

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