A committee in the House of Representatives has ordered for the consolidation of three bills that aim to impose tougher regulation on the manufacture, distribution, sale, and use of fireworks, and other pyrotechnic devices in the Philippines.
The House Committee on Public Order and Safety also organized a technical working group that will merge the bills, which seek to amend Republic Act of 7183, also known as the ‘Act Regulating the Sale, Manufacture, Distribution, and Use of Firecrackers and other Pyrotechnic Devices’.
Pangasinan Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil has been appointed to lead the technical working group by Negros Occidental Rep. Jeffrey Ferrer, chair House Committee on Public Safety and Order, upon the nomination of Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia.
Bataoil, who earlier served as the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), is tasked to initiate efforts to consolidate Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian’s House Bill No. 4434 with similar measures like HB Nos. 786 and 1409.
The TWG will continue to consult Department of Health (DOH), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), PNP – Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Bureau of Customs (BoC), and groups of fireworks dealers.
In a committee hearing last Wednesday, Gatchalian told the panel there is a need to amend the 23-year-old fireworks regulation law considering the unabated number of firecracker injuries every year and its damaging effects to the environment.
Citing a DOH report, Gatchalian said there are a total of 1,018 firework-related injuries in the first quarter of 2014, which was nine percent higher compared to that of last year.
He added that 25 percent or a total of 250 injuries were from children less than 10 years old which were mostly caused by the banned piccolo.
“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,” Gatchalian said.
“Until when should we allow this cycle of perils to our health and environment?” he asked.
In his HB 4434, Gatchalian wants to impose a maximum of P5,000 limit for a single purchase of any firecracker or pyrotechnic devices, excluding those with permit from PNP-FEO.(Tim Alcantara)