Pia Favors Tighter Restrictions on Firecrackers Sale, Use

SENATOR Pia S. Cayetano is open to proposals to further tighten government regulations on firecrackers, following reports that 844 people were injured by firecracker blasts during New Year revelries to welcome 2011, while 11 were reportedly hurt after ingesting firecrackers.

“I am very much in favor of further restricting the production, importation, sale, and use of firecrackers, not only because of their health hazards, but also due to the toxic pollution that these materials release to our environment,” said Cayetano, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography.

But the senator reminded the government to be ready to define the standards and enforce full compliance if it were to expand the current policy of selectively banning certain firecrackers based on their explosives content and the hazards they pose to children.

“As we have seen year-in and out, there are many banned firecrackers like piccolo, pla-pla, watusi, super lolo etc., that are openly being sold in the streets. So what’s the use, even of a selective ban, if our law enforcers can’t properly implement it?” she asked.

Cayetano favors a system of tapping local government units to authorize licensed operators to handle pyrotechnics, and expanding the policy already being practiced by certain LGUs that designate firecracker zones in their respective localities.

“If we can guarantee support on the local government level, perhaps we can explore the option of having only licensed operators handle firework displays.”

“LGUs can then authorize a firework display by a licensed operator on special national or local holidays only. And we can still congregate in the town plazas to watch the fireworks free from threats to our safety and with less fumes and harmful toxins released to the environment,” she concluded. #