CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan — The announcement of President Rodrigo R. Duterte on the national total firecracker ban drew mixed reactions from this province, which is dubbed as the “fireworks capital” of the country.
Malolos City Mayor Christian Natividad said the pronouncement of the President is included in the inherent powers of the state and the police.
“If the government uses these powers, it is incumbent for us to follow the order of the highest official of the land,” he said.
Vice Governor Daniel Fernando, on the other hand, said it is a very sad news to fireworks stakeholders in Bulacan.
“Many will surely be affected and lose livelihood opportunities (caused) by the total ban on firecrackers,” he said.
As presiding officer of the provincial council of Bulacan, Fernando said he will ask the members of the body to carefully study the order of the President.
He added that they will make an appeal that the total ban be enforced only on firecrackers and not on fireworks or pailaw products.
Meanwhile, Joven Ong, president of the Fireworks Association of the Philippines, said he thinks the President is “talking about Congress (to) look into (the) pros and cons of banning firecrackers”.
Ong said he will issue further statements once the matter is already under deliberation.
On the other hand, Lea Alapide, president of the Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association Inc., said she will read first the executive order before giving her take.
Based on Bulacan’s Pyrotechnic Regulatory Board (PRB), the province’s fireworks industry directly provides livelihood opportunities to at least 100,000 individuals.
In 2017, the PRB estimated that some 20,000 individuals were still directly benefitting from the livelihood generated by the fireworks industry.
However, fireworks stakeholders, who do not want to be identified, said the local industry has now suffered a slump in production and that only a few big fireworks manufacturers in the country are left, struggling to keep the industry afloat.
These big manufacturers are those who were able to shift from the old technology to the modern, safer mode of pyrotechnics making and mainly concentrate on aerial displays. (PNA)