Aquino declares war on illegal firecrackers



President Aquino. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Ahead of the New Year revelry, President Aquino ordered police officials, on Sunday, to throw the book at revelers exploding banned firecrackers and shut down shops selling these contraband for good.

The President specifically reminded Philippine National Police Director General Allan Purisima to highlight the charges filed against violators of Republic Act 7183 and the penalties meted out to them to show the government’s “seriousness.’’

But Mr. Aquino indicated that apart from charging revelers with violation of RA 7183, which regulates the sale, manufacture, distribution and use of firecrackers and pyrotechnics, the PNP should explore filing charges of damage to property if the firecrackers became destructive.

During PowerPoint presentations by different agencies on their preparations for New Year, Mr. Aquino had been particularly struck by the image of a huge 16-inch by 16-inch triangular firecracker, called “Goodbye Philippines.’’

He wondered if that powerful cracker could damage  concrete roads, and Purisima said yes.

“We should then explore [the charge] of damage to public property,’’ Mr. Aquino said, pointing out that the Department of Justice should have been present at the briefing.

After being told this was seized from a store in Bulacan, the firecrackers’ manufacturing capital, without a permit, the President ordered local government officials to take the concerned local government unit to task for this.  “Why was something like this allowed to happen?’’ he said.

What came as a surprise was the finding by the Department of Health that piccolo was the source of injuries of 59 percent of children. Piccolo sells P10 to P15 a box. While they’re labeled as manufactured in Bulacan, they were smuggled in from China, officials said.

“Fifty-nine percent of children are getting injured because of this brand. It’s called piccolo. It’s considered banned because it’s actually imported,’’ Health Undersecretary Teodoro Herbosa said in his presentation.

“As you can see, it’s `Made in Bulacan’. We don’t have something `Made in Bulacan’, it’s [supposed to be] Made in the Philippines. So this actually comes from China and so this is actually smuggled in and it’s sold in the streets for P15—about P10 to P15 pesos for 20 sticks,’’ he added.

The President wondered how children could “surreptitiously’’ buy them despite a ban.

Since Dec. 21 onwards, the Department of Health has received reports of 171 cases of fire-work related injury. “We’re going lower than the previous year. But we cannot give a final (conclusion) until after Jan. 5. But it’s like it has plateaued already,’’ Herbosa said.

The President also made clear to Purisima that manufacturers, retailers and dealers of banned firecrackers should be made to pay, not only through the closure of their shops but also through the revocation of their permits.

He asked: “Is there permanent banning from engaging in this business again if you sell all the banned items?’’  He observed that the penalty of six to 12 months’ imprisonment or a fine of P20,000 to P30,000 or both was “very low.’’

Purisima replied: “…(A)ctually we can confiscate everything, and close the shop. That’s the order I’ve given the regional directors.’’

When Mr. Aquino pressed if this meant that the shop would not be reopened, the PNP chief said that their permits would be revoked. And just to be sure, Mr. Aquino said the PNP should inform local government units of their action against these violators to prevent the issuance of new permits under a different name.

Mr. Aquino also instructed Purisima to highlight the cases filed against violators and the status of these cases in the media.

“What’s important in the post-New Year’s event. There should be publicity of all the cases that had been filed, and status. We have to show we’re serious especially against indiscriminate firing of guns and explosion of firecrackers,’’ he said. “We have to show some are punished. We can’t call a time-out here where anyone can violate the law at around 11 p.m.’’

He said the campaign against firecrackers should begin by the last quarter of the year.

The President expressed disbelief at PNP data showing that shops were shut down only in one province, while the rest seemed to have complied with the law.

“I think Allan, our counter-intelligence should be vetting all these regions also,’’ he said, addressing Purisima. “I think you should call up everybody once again and tell them, `I just noticed that there were many inspections, and yet we have piccolo…’ If they didn’t actually do these inspections, that’s one-strike.’’

So far, government hospitals have sufficient stocks of medicines for injuries during celebrations welcoming the New Year.

The President also instructed Local Government officials to share with the other LGUs the wisdom of ordinances adopted by Quezon City and Davao City banning firecrackers, sharply cutting down the sale of firecrackers and cases of injuries.

The President’s message was to “put a stop to the manufacture, transport and sale on the prohibited ones,’’ Secretary to the Cabinet Rene Almendras said.

“We’ll know when the numbers come out on Jan. 5,’’ Almendras said on whether Mr. Aquino was satisfied with the measures of the different agencies.

“If the numbers will be better than last year then, good; if it’s not, then there’s nothing we can do of it. You know, what we need to do is to make sure it’s gonna be lower in the future years. So we must learn from the experience. The President called this meeting because he wanted to emphasize that he’s quite serious about these things,’’ he added.

A proposal from Maj. Renato Marcial of the Bureau of Fire and Protection for a total ban on firecrackers, a major cause of fire, would be discussed, Almendras said. Fire officials are also discouraging the use of sky lanterns.

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • katutubongfilipino

    ban the sale of this to minor

  • JunPyo123

    This is too late. Banning illegal firecrackers when people already stockpiled and several children suffered already. I even already have some pla-plas reserved for tomorrow night.

    “The President wondered how children could “surreptitiously’’ buy them despite a ban.” – Seriously? It’s not even surreptitiously, children could buy firecrackers in the most obvious places.

    • imongredneck

      I totally agree. This ony mean that they are not serious about their concern over this problem. The destruction and mayhem caused by this explosive every new year is as inevitable as the election, so why not talk about this like what they do with election issues.

  • Sidney – Green Barley

    Enforcement of the Law is more important. File a case against the perpetrators and follow thru until conviction.

  • puza65

    yung mga matitigas ang ulo dyan…hanggat di kau napuputulan ng kamay di kau magtatanda…

  • disqusted0fu

    apparently firecracker vendors are not  scared of Aquino’s declaration of war. illegal firecrackers are still very much abundant. they probably know that the president is all bark but no bite.

    • joshmale2004

      May order na ang pangulo at nakikita nyo palang may nagtitinda ng illegal na paputok. Bakit di nyo gawin ang maitutulong ninyo bilang concerned citizens at i report sa pinakamalapit na police o Barangay kesa naman sisihin nyo at pagtatawanan ang utos ng Presidente. Kung ayaw kumilos police o barangay nyo, itawag nyo sa action center ng DZRH,DZBB o kaya DZMM. Maging concerned citizen naman kayo kesa pag batikos lang ang alam nyo. Kung gusto nyong maging maayos ang paggawa ng illegal, tulong tulong tayo dapat.

  • carlorocci

    Ipagbawal kaya sa hospital ang mga naputukan para magtanda, isang gabi lang? 

    Pagnaputukan ka hindi ka pwede sa hospital. “Do it at your own risk…..” Suggestion lang po….

    • kismaytami

      That should be the best solution.

  • kismaytami

    LOLs! Nagpapatawa na naman si mr. aquino. Dito lang sa lungsod namin, sa gilid mismo ng city hall, may mga nagbi-benta ng piccolo a.k.a. pacquiao. Tapos makikita mo yung mga pulis palakad-lakad lang sa harap ng mga nagtitinda.

    • joshmale2004

      May order na ang pangulo at nakikita nyo palang may nagtitinda ng illegal na paputok. Bakit di nyo gawin ang maitutulong ninyo bilang concerned citizens at i report sa pinakamalapit na police o Barangay kesa naman sisihin nyo at pagtatawanan ang utos ng Presidente. Kung ayaw kumilos police o barangay nyo, itawag nyo sa action center ng DZRH,DZBB o kaya DZMM. Maging concerned citizen naman kayo kesa pag batikos lang ang alam nyo. Kung gusto nyong maging maayos ang paggawa ng illegal, tulong tulong tayo dapat.

      • nti_boohaya

        Ginawa na yan pero anong nangyari sa mga naconfiscate na mga illegal na paputok?  Pagkatapos ma presenta sa media ang mga ibat ibang uri ng nagkakalakihang paputok, e nagkagulo gulo mga parak na nagkanya kanyang kuha ng mga nakasupot tapos direcho sa mga sasakyan nila.  And yes, inireport yan “live” sa show ni kabayan sa DZMM kaya lang radio lang walang video.  Ang nakakalungkot jan ay wala man lang ginawa si seer superintendent o sir koh tong sa mga pulis niya.  Si Taberna may segment din na kung saan nakahuli ang mga parak ng mga illegal na firecrackers din kaya lang di na pinakita ang final disposition ng mga yun.  Droga nga na nai re report na ini ri recycle e yan pa kaya na paputok lang?  Nakakasawa kasi  ang mga lip service na ganito pards.  Gawin na lang at wala ng pa presco prescon pa. 

      • kismaytami

        LOLs x 2! Take note. Gilid na yan mismo ng city hall, at sa likod ng city hall eh headquarters lang naman ng pulisya. Take note again, pulisya na mismo ang AYAW KUMILOS.

        Yung mga radio station naman, pare-pareho lang yan na namimili ng babasahin o ie-ere nila dipende kung type nila o hindi yung isasangguni.

  • jeetkaido

    Only in the Philippines yang nagpapaputok na maraming nadidisgrasya at nasusonogan ng bahay. Dapat seriously enforce ang law at malaking malaki ang multa plus kulong ng minimum isang taon  para madala. Kung P20k to P30k lang ang multa sa mga manufacturer/vendors, mag-mumulta na lang maski doblehin pa kasi million naman ang ganansya, kaya mahirap itigil yan kasi madaling lagyan mga pulis. 

  • NoyAbnoy

    Eh kasi naman, sa war on illegal numbers game, bokya, kaya sa war on illegal firecrackers na lang nagbabaka-sakali ang retarded na pangulo.

    PNOY, eto  pala ang pang-buena mano mo para sa baong taon!  Patawa!

  • Dip

    Sure, sign a peace treaty with the MILF . Apparently it is O.K. for them to murder people, but you risk jail if you shoot a firecracker.

  • katutubongfilipino

    ban the sale and dapat kunin ang pangbayad sa mga seller ng paputok and gastos sa pag pagamot ng mga naputokan hindi sapondo ng gov. funds

  • Fulpol

    walang connection ang firecrackers sa Hacienda Luisita at sa interes ng kanyang KKK…

  • boybakal

    It is New Year…what a way to celebrate the coming is with a Bang, Big Bang.
    As they say….Take it at your own risk.
    No Pain, No Glory…at least it happens only once a year. There is one year to recover.

  • XY ZEE

    The President wondered how children could “surreptitiously’’ buy them despite a ban.

    Wag kasi puro sa Palasyo lang.
    Puro kasing ginintuang orinola lang ang nakikita sa Malakanyang.
    Malayong-malayo doon sa totoong buhay.

  • Your_King

    Typical Aquino to declare war or another thing. It’s GMA then Corona then China then Garcia and now firecrackers. I wonder if firecracker will be thrown into jail as well?

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks



latest videos