INSPECTION. Gen. Rodolfo Azurin, chief of the Philippine National Police (center), leads the inspection of fireworks and pyrotechnic stores in Bocaue, Bulacan on Thursday (Dec. 8, 2022). The move is part of the intensified campaign “Ingat Paputok 2023” for the safe celebration of Christmas and New Year. (PNA photo by Manny Balbin)

BOCAUE, Bulacan – The Philippine National Police (PNP) conducted an inspection of the different firecrackers and fireworks establishments in Barangay Turo here on Thursday.

The move was to ensure that the rules and regulations under Republic Act 7183 (An Act regulating the sale, manufacture, distribution and use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices) are observed by manufacturers, dealers and retailers of pyrotechnics and firecrackers.

PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin, together with Brig. Gen. Cesar R. Pasiwen, director of the Police Regional Office-3 (Central Luzon), Gov. Daniel R. Fernando, Vice Governor Alex Castro, Bocaue Mayor Jonjon Villanueva and Bulacan provincial police director Col. Relly Arnedo, led the inspection as part of the intensified campaign “Ingat Paputok 2023”.

During the inspection, some of the illegal firecrackers/pyrotechnics were presented and posted on bulletin boards. These include Goodbye Bading, Goodbye Covid, Kwiton Parachute, Kwiton Bomb, Bin Laden, Special Pla-pla, Kabasi, Coke in Can, Goodbye Philippines, Atomic and Giant Atomic Bomb.

"Very lucky ang Bulacan dahil dinalaw tayo ng maaga ni PNP Chief Azurin para magsagawa ng inspeksyon sa mga firecrackers at fireworks establishments dito sa Bocaue na kilalang sentro ng fireworks industry sa bansa (Bulacan is very lucky because we were visited early by PNP Chief Azurin to conduct an inspection of firecrackers and fireworks establishments here in Bocaue which is known as the center of the fireworks industry in the country)," Fernando said in an interview.

"Hopefully na magkaisa ang mga firecrackers and fireworks business establishment owners para walang mangyaring trahedya that may cause injuries or death during New Year’s Eve celebration (Hopefully, the firecrackers and fireworks business establishment owners would cooperate so that no tragedy would happen that may cause injuries or death during the New Year’s Eve celebration)," he added.

Azurin, for his part, is grateful for the support given by the provincial government of Bulacan headed by Fernando and Castro to the police.

He said the PNP conducts an inspection every year to check if the establishments have proper permits and whether they comply with the laws prohibiting the sale of some firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices.

The PNP chief also said the Bulacan police have been vigilant in the efforts to go after illegal manufacturers and dealers not only in Bocaue but also in other parts of the province.

During a press conference, Azurin said all types of firecrackers that are not oversized, not overweight, and not imported are regulated for sale and use.

He said that the prohibited firecrackers are those that are overweight (more than 0.2 gram or not more than 1/3 teaspoon), oversized (like Super Lolo, Giant Whistle and imported finished products with a mixture of phosphorous of sulfur and chlorate. Also, the fuse of the firecracker should not burn less than three seconds but not more than six seconds.

"Zero casualties ang aming inaasahan at sa tulong ng media ay maipaabot sa mamamayan ang mga bawal na paputok ay hindi dapat gamitin ng taumbayan at mga paputok na legal at puedeng gamitin ng mamamayan (We expect zero casualty and with the help of the media, the public would be informed about illegal firecrackers that must not be used, the legal fireworks and those that can be used by the public),” Azurin said.

Those who will be caught manufacturing, selling, distributing, or using illegal firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices will face fines of PHP20,000 up to PHP30,000, imprisonment of six months to one year, cancellation of license and business permit and confiscation of inventory stocks.

At present, there are 61 licensed fireworks stores and six legitimate fireworks factories in Bocaue alone.

Meanwhile, Villanueva thanked Fernando and Azurin for the support they have given to the firecrackers industry.

Before the press conference, the PNP chief visited the Bulacan Police Provincial Office and the two police officers who were wounded during a police operation at the Bulacan Medical Center. (PNA)