The Department of Health or DoH and Bureau of Fire Protection or BFP have expressed support for a measure filed before the House of Representatives that seeks to impose tougher regulations on firecrackers and firework products for sale in the country.
In separate legal opinions submitted to the House Committee on Public Order and Safety, the DOH and BFP signified their full support for “House Bill No. 4344” of Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian.
Also known as “Firecracker Regulations Act of 2014”, Gatchalian’s bill seeks to limit the single purchase of fireworks to a maximum of P5,000. Beyond said amount would require a permit from the Philippine National Police (PNP)’s Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO).
The proposed measure also aims to prohibit minors from buying firecrackers and other firework products, and compel cities and municipalities to designate a pyrotechnic zone within their jurisdiction.
Acting Health Secretary Janette Garin said DOH appreciates the noble intention of HB 4434 to regulate the circulation and usage of fireworks as it has resulted in 1,018 firework-related injuries in the first quarter of 2014.
Garin said the figure was 9 percent higher compared to that of last year.
During the committee hearing on the bill, Garin requested to put a provision that will ban use of firecrackers and other firework products in residential areas and shift to a local government or community-led pyrotechnic display to prevent injuries.
The acting secretary also suggested Bureau of Customs to be on top of monitoring and preventing the smuggling or illicit trade of imported fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices.
Meanwhile, BFP Regional Director Ariel Barayuga said the HB 4434 will minimize, if not eliminate, the occurrence of destructive fires and injuries and promote public safety.
Barayuga suggested to add new provisions that will compel firework dealers to get a BFP-issued Fire Safety Inspection Certificate, and will require localities to consult their respective fire stations in designating an appropriate pyrotechnic zone.
As of now, the committee on Public Order and Safety has formed a technical working group (TWG) to consolidate Gatchalian’s bill with HB 786 and 1409. (Tim Alcantara)