A few days before Filipinos celebrate Christmas and the coming of the New Year, Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian has pushed for tougher rules on the sale fireworks and firecrackers that are being sold nationwide.
In his House Bill No. 4434, Gatchalian hoped that amending certain provisions in Republic Act No. 7183 will ensure a safe environment for Filipinos, especially children who are most vulnerable to fireworks and firecrackers-related injuries.
“Every year, we endure from the pollutants caused by the use of firecrackers to welcome the new year, we see news flashes of countless injuries, especially to the hapless children “Until when should we allow this cycle of perils to our health and environment?” asked Gatchalian in his bill’s explanatory note.
Dubbing his bill as “Firecracker Regulation Act of 2014”, Gatchalian highlighted the need for the government to do more about fireworks and firecrackers that are also considered as hazards to public safety.
Gatchalian, a member of House Committee on Trade and Industry, wants local government units or LGUs to designate pyrotechnic zones in their own locality to avoid fire and injuries.
“These amendments do not entirely do away with time-honored merry-making but enforces to provide stricter regulations in an effort to protect our people,” he said.
If enacted, the bill will require fireworks dealers to submit the names and addresses of their affiliates to the Philippine National Police’s Firearms and Explosive Office or PNP-FEO upon securing business permit.
A maximum of P5,000 will be imposed as limit for a single purchase of any firecracker or pyrotechnic device, excluding those with permit from PNP-FEO.
The bill will also prohibit selling fireworks to any person below 18 years old while requiring children who will use firecrackers to be under the strict supervision of their guardians.
Those who will fail to secure their dealer’s permit through legal means will be fined P100,000 to P500,000 or an imprisonment ranging from six months to three years.
Dealers found guilty of selling fireworks to minors will be fined P100,000 and have their permit revoked. Meanwhile, parents found guilty of goading firework purchase by their children will be fined P10,000.
There were 1,018 fireworks-related injuries counted from December 21, 2013 to January 6, 2014, showed a previous press release by the Department of Health (DOH). Almost 1,000 of these were due to fireworks, two from firework ingestion, and 19 from stray bullets.
The DOH maintained that the use of firecrackers should be allowed only as an activity managed by respective local governments and only in designated areas within their community.
House Bill No. 4434 is currently pending before House Committee on Public Order and Safety. (R. Burgos)