Crackdown on ’crackers

PNP ordered to arrest revelers exploding ‘bombs’



GRUESOME IMAGE After watching and listening to the presentation of measures taken by government agencies against illegal firecrackers, President Aquino wants the police to shut down permanently shops selling prohibited pyrotechnics that injure Filipinos, especially children. Photos of a bloodied hand like this (inset) have not discouraged Filipinos from greeting the New Year with a big bang. LYN RILLON

Ahead of the New Year revelry, President Benigno Aquino III on Sunday ordered police officials to throw the book at revelers exploding banned firecrackers and to shut down shops selling them for good.

The President specifically reminded Philippine National Police Director General Alan Purisima to highlight the charges filed against violators of Republic Act No. 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 was 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 roads, and Purisima said that it could.

“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 that the giant firecracker was seized from a store operating without a permit in Bulacan, the country’s firecrackers’ manufacturing capital, the President ordered local government officials to take the local government unit (LGU) to task.

“Why was something like this allowed to happen?” he said.


Kids injured by ‘piccolo’

What came as a surprise was the finding by the Department of Health (DOH) that 59 percent of the children who suffered injuries from pyrotechnics got them from “piccolo.”

Piccolo sells for P10 to P15 a box. While they are labeled as manufactured in Bulacan, they are smuggled in from China, DOH 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.

From China

“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 for 20 sticks,” Herbosa added.

The President wondered how children could “surreptitiously” buy the piccolos when they were banned.

Since Dec. 21, the DOH has received reports of 171 cases of firework-related injury. “We’re going lower than the previous year. But we cannot give a final [conclusion] until after Jan. 5,” Herbosa said.

Closure, revoke permits

The President also made clear to Purisima that manufacturers, retailers and dealers of banned firecrackers should be made to pay—either by closure or permanent 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 or a fine of P20,000 to P30,000 or both was “very low.”

Purisima replied that retailers caught selling firecrackers were violating the terms of their permit. “So actually we can confiscate everything and close the shop. That’s the order I’ve [given to] the regional directors right now.”


Publish cases

When Mr. Aquino pressed if this meant that the shop would not be reopened, the PNP chief said that its permit would be revoked. And just to be sure, the President said the PNP should inform LGUs of their action against violators in case they apply for a new permit under a different name.

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

“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.”

Disbelief at PNP data

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

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

“I think Alan, our counterintelligence 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 stock of medicines for injuries during celebrations welcoming the New Year.

Total ban considered

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 that sharply cut down the sale of firecrackers and the number 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 taken by 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 about it. You know, what we need to do is to make sure it’s going to be lower in the future. 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.

  • Marx Louis Wang

    Isa lang naman ang gusto ni P-Noy dito. Get zero casualties or injuries on New Year’s Eve. MARAMI KASI DIYAN NA KAHIT ALAM NILANG DELIKADO MATIGAS PA RIN ANG ULO. Stop this stupid pinoy nature.

  • Practicalandconcerned

    I don’t know if it is enforceable but I do agree people need to be protected sometimes from themselves…even cops know where this factories are already…just again, if its enforceable coz there are too many

    • Loggnat

       That does mean that they should not even try to stop it. Show the people that you mean business and is serious about it and start jailing some of those blatantly ignoring the law. I bet you that every year there will be less and less individuals will be willing to break the law if they see people getting serious charges, heavily fined, and spending some time in jail for manufacturing, possessing, selling, and using the illegal explosives (firecrackers).

      • Practicalandconcerned

        Didn’t write they should not try; more like if they want this to get done then do it…but they won’t and it seems that they can’t and that is why i say it might not be enforceable. This not the first time with this theme of so called new offensive been said before.

  • patriotic_act

    make firing of this firecrackers only strictly legal during occasions or the eve of the 31st of december.. I can see brazen use of these as early as november of each year.. even without any occasions.

    • Loggnat

       Any firecrackers strong enough to cause injury should be banned. Individuals selling them should be charged with serious crimes ie. possession of dangerous explosive with intent to sell, those who are caught in their possession should be charge with illegal possession of dangerous explosive with the intent to harm and cause public disturbance, etc. Those who are proven to have sold it to minors or even adults and had cause injury or death should be charge accordingly, criminal negligence causing serious injury, and homicide or manslaughter if death occurs. It should not be called or classified as accident as it never was one because it is an illegal item to sell, possess, and use them. Get serious!!! Manufacturer’s facilities should be closed and if they are licensed, it should be revoked and fined heavily for producing illegal and dangerous explosives.

      • patriotic_act

        absolutely agree..

  • Robert Charles

    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 that sharply cut down the sale of firecrackers and the number of injuries.
    –> Davao City, YES. Quezon City, STUPID! Just go to Barangay Paltok and you find many kids playing with piccolo; and their parents lighting huge firecrackers as if it’s World War III. Calling Mayor Bautista and barangay officials. I hope that Quezon City becomes 100% firecracker free like Davao City. There is so much to learn from Mayor Duterte.

  • joshua kings

    di pa ako ipinapanganak, crackdown palagi ang anunsyo ng gobyerno taon-taon; pero, ano, may nagyari bang mabuti para maibsan man lang ang mga kaswalti?  taon-taon nababasa at nakikita natin mga kamay na sumabog, mga binting tadtad ng peklat atbp dala ng kapabayaan sa pagpapaputok ng mga lebentador atbp…
    bakit ganun?asan ang problema? 
    taon-taon may utos sa mga pulis na wag magpapaputok ng baril; pero ganun a rin…
    taon-taon, ipinagbabawal ang magluto ng gomang gulong sa kalye, pero ganun pa rin..merong pa ring nagsisiga sa gitna pa ng kalsada at pagkatapos, sira na ang aspalto…
    taon-taon nag-a-anunsyo ang DOH na wag magpaputok para maiwasan ang danyos perwisyos sa katawan at property; wala, ganun pa rin…
    di ko na kailangang sagutin yan dahil alam ko, alam ninyo na rin ang kasagutan….. 
    kakainis na eh. walang pagbabago para sa kabutihan.

  • Juan

    kelan kaya magiging automatic ang pagpapatupad ng health and safety?, di na kailangan ng national government. 

  • farmerpo

    Put out a guideline, rules if you will on the type of firecrackers that can be legally manufactured, sold and used then enforce it with a will. We have yet to see a firecracker factory shut down and penalized to the max. Right now, at this moment, all you have to do is track down the makers of of such crackers as Pacquiao, Ampatuan, Gunaw and publicize the result and it should do it. Treat cracker injuries without painkillers. And best of all let us stop harking on banning firecrackers if they are already in the market. Makes us all look like howling cats….pusang di ma-ihi ika nga..  

  • Hey_Dudes

    If all medical facilities in the country simultaneously announce for people to hear, they will no longer treat patients injured by firecrackers, I have a feeling this will weigh more than the president saying firecrackers will be banned.

    Lets face it.  We are not a disciplined people.  In spite injuries, fires and commotion of lighting up firecrackers each year, nobody listen?  It is only when they lay on the hospital gurney suffering from burns and lost of limbs they begin to regret but its too late.

    If there is a warning from hospitals they will get no treatment and let those injured suffer from their  misery or even die from it – it’s their game.

    • Antonio

      I’ve known people who have gotten injured from them yet still continue lighting them up the next New Year anyway!

  • anu12345

    Huwag nilang gamutin ang masabugan. I-hang nila ang mga parents ng mga iyon.

  • boi skater

    The government should simply ban all firecrackers just like
    they do in many advanced countries in the world. The human injuries, environmental
    pollution, noise pollution, air pollution and the stressed pets do not justify
    the continuation of this practice as part of year-end celebrations. The people
    and the cities or smaller municipalities should instead poll their resources
    together and put on a firework display for all to enjoy.

    • Antonio

      NOT ALL advanced countries ban them – Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, and Scandinavia, as well as Hawaii in the USA allow people to buy firecrackers for New Year’s Eve – and many do to my knowledge! However, their people are NOT getting hurt in droves the way we are, so they must be doing something right! Perhaps we can look at what they do to ensure safer New Years for the noise pollution, firecracker-loving (in general) Filipino public.

      I don’t want the Philippines to end up with a dull and lame New Year like what I experienced in the Mainland USA where all you do is watch the Times Square Countdown on TV, and pop champagne while at it! It is so quiet that you literally forget it’s New Year – yes I experienced it and therefore I have the right to bash it! I’m sure many who have experienced both kinds will understand where I’m coming from!

  • arao_liwanag

    His image represent the ugliest spirit of Christmas and New Year. Pang hallowen lang ang kanyang mukha – ugly and scary.

    • Jon Paul

      Mas scary ka pa nga kasi wala kang avatar man lang na maipakita… parang nagtatago sa dilim!!

      • arao_liwanag


      • ever green

        then kung wala ng masabi….

    • ever green

      people attack other’s physical appearance to cover up for something they lack in mental abilities. 

  • padrefaura

    Kung gugustuhin, gagawan ng paraan. Hindi na kailangan gawing headline o mag press release

  • $20926843

    This is one of those useless propaganda press ops of this inutile and autistic president from malacanang to show that he is doing something but in fact he is doing nothing.  Even Marcos during the height of the popularity of Martial Law can not stop the exploding of this illegal firecrackers by revelers,  how can he/she?

    • maximus_meridius

      Magaling lang kasi sa pakitang tao ang ipokrito at gunggong na yan.  Kunwari may ginagawa ang inutil at walang kwenta na yan.

  • divictes

    The noise is supposed to scare the demons away, but it seems the racket has awaken and driven them crazy as shown.

  • denzel_alfonso

    Hindi pwedeng i ban talaga yan, MAWAWALAN NG KOTONG ANG MGA COPS!

  • Olibo

    This is a ‘decree’ that we must see. Maraming nasirang presidente, at the strike of the midnight clock of 31st  December, even some of the police and army personnel fire their guns. Bahala na kahit sinong tamaan. I suggest consult Mayor Duterte how to stop this dangerous revelry.

  • batangsulpok

    Dapat papag-bayarin sa ospital ang mga taong nasugatan dahil sa paputok dahil bawal na nga, matigas pa ang ulo at kasuhan kung ginamit ay mga illegal na paputok para naman magtanda.

  • bryant85

    Filipinos defiance to the law or ordinances on firecrackers anent the risk involving their limbs or lives in its use puts a shadow of doubt to their diligence to abide by the provisions of the RH law on responsible parenthood, and etc.

    Their bullheadedness to frontally indulge in such risky firecracker activities despite the incessant warnings and precautionary measures issued by the concerned Officials of the gov’t exemplifies that a replication of negation to the RH Law is expected. That touted program on responsible parenthood would only be for the books but never to be accepted as a rule in procreation.

    Filipinos as bred and nurtured by culture would and always procreate or raise a family according to their will totally disregarding the RH law programs on responsible parenthood.

  • ever green

    It all comes down to discipline…..

  • andy bonifacio

    Come election time most people will write the names of smiling
    wolf-like  personalities and movie stars
    and before a year’s time start cursing these people, forgetting that they
    themselves are responsible for the waste of tax payer’s  money on these officials. Come new years eve,
    a lot will curse the firecrackers that make their arms bleed and  make the air that surrounds them dirty for
    their lungs as well as empty their pockets. Is this to drive away the bad
    spirits as what the chinese claim or have they not realized that the so called “luck”
    of the chinese are due to their diligence and perseverance as against  the complacency and lowly “ patron needed “ attitude
    of most  filipinos surrounding them.  I wonder then how the people of Davao have
    matured to learn to shun this wastefull and harmfull revelry yet remains to be
    the most sought after city as demostrated by its growth. One goes around the city
    and does not see anybody smoking in public and even the most unruly taxi driver
    stops on a red light. No martial law in the city, its just that  everybody cooperates. Maybe its  because they know somebody is in charge. 

  • bugoybanggers

    Yan nga naman, itong mga INSTIK ang galing makisawsaw. Mismo sa bentahan ng mga paputok nakikipag kompetensiya pa rin sila? Ang tradisyong pagawaan ng paputok natin ay binababoy pati nila kasi mismo sa BULACAN talamak ang bentahan ng MADE in CHINAg paputok. Bakit kaya ito pinapayagan o hinahayaan ng ating punong gobierno ng PROBINSYA? Dapat para sa gawang BULACAN lang ang pwedeng ibenta dito para naman mapagbigyan ang mga local na negosyanteng kumita at makilala ang probinsiya nila bilang PAPUTOK KING of the Philippines. Lintek kayong mga INSTIK, mga gahaman kayo! Ito namang mga parokyano, igalang naman ninyo ang produktong PINOY, Tangkilikin ninyo.. hayaan ninyong MALUGI itong mga INSTEK para bumalik na lang sila sa bansa nila. Larga!

  • boypalabobo

    Crack down just now?  It’s Dec 31. hahahahah. 
    Anyone who wanted fireworks bought 2-4 weeks ago, including the police!

  • Mattino2011

    Watch  TV patrol tonight…Confiscated firecrackers ng PNP legal (but no permit to sell and illegal..(banned). Nakunan ng video ng DZMM radio patrol ..nagaagawan mga pulis para i-uwi mga fire crackers…gen Espina sana sibakin mo mga pulis na yan

    • regie


  • simonibarra27

    Okey din dumiskarte tong mga BOB ONG  katulisan natin, libreng paputok nga naman,kunyari nag e enforce ng law pero last minute lang naisipan manguha! Okey talaga!

  • ryq24

    just another opportunity for police to earn money this dec. they will apprehend people with firecrackers then demand money in exchange for freedom, then they will sell the confiscated firecrackers. whoever advise the President to make this order should be fired.

  • Mattino2011

    I-bawal na lang New year celebration…hahahaha

  • band1do

    What??? It took this many years for our Gov to finally act upon it?  Good work but this should have been done DECADES ago.  

  • regie


  • maximus_meridius

    I ban ang mga abnormal at mongoloid kaysa sa firecrackers!

    • Benito Chung

      kasama ka dun

  • Batz61

    Pweh… taon-taon na lang puro kayo dak-dak, dal-dal, salita, wala naman talagang concrete effect na nakabubuti yang ginagawa ninyo… patuloy pa rin ang pagtinda, pagbili, pagpapasabog ng mga pesteng firecrackers…at marami pa ring mga tao ang nadidisgrasya. Bakit babayaran ng taxpayer’s money ang pagpapagamot sa mga pasaway na mga nagpapaputok at nasusugatan?!? Hwag nang gamutin yang mga iyan para maturuan ng leksyon….puro perwisyo lang ang mga iyan. Tama na ang dak-dak, hulihin nyo na at itigil talaga. Hwag niyo rin gawing tong ng pera ang kunwaring mga panghuhuling ginagawa ninyo.

  • dennis

    Sana sa susunod na New Year eh magkaroon ng batas na ang mga magulang ng maaaksidenteng kabataan dahil sa firecrackers below 21yrs of age must be subject for a fine of 10,000 php plus a case of “negligence causing multiple injuries!”…Eto naman eh para sa kabutihan natin.Basta bawal sa mga below 21 ang firecrackers! Ganun ka-simple ang batas!

  • Philcruz

    All very commendable but too late in the day, isn’t it? This meeting should have been held October yet.  The next meeting in preparation for next New Year should be on the 1st week of January 2013 when all the results of exploded limbs are in.

    My view is that we should not allow these firecrackers at all.  Only fireworks in designated areas. Explosions are dangerous for those with nervous or heart ailments and hospital patients. 

    We are just as bad as the US not being able to control the sale of guns.

  • Juan

    Just an hour ago a teenage kid threw a firecracker at my car while driving, as they ran I rolled my mirror and shout at them they were stunned then I get down on my car and conficate the piccolo and told them to go home. I decided not to pursue a case against them dahil ako ang ma dedehado at inutil naman talaga kapulisan natin, there’s even a video showing them stealing firecrackers in a fire cracker destruction ceremony INFRONT of their commanders.. So tomorrow kung nasa isip ko pa din yun I might hunt their house and throw a turd indide their home. Come to think of if a lot of filipino is somehow a VIGILANTE whenever bad things happen, so civil war anyone? you know for cultural cleansing…

  • Komen To

    Piccolo made in China, it’s not a surprise. Firecrackers being smuggled here, is it a surprise? I think PNoy needs a loyalty check. Remove those who are not in line with his Tuwid na Daan. I support the President’s crackdown on illegal firecracker makers, importers, sellers and revelers

  • MARK

    Interesting as I studied the safetiness of Fireworks in the Philippines about 5 years ago and concluded that the Smuggled Chinese Fireworks, particularly the PICCOLO were the safest over illegally made Fireworks traditionally made in the back areas of Bulacan. The Piccolo has a consistent 5 second delay before it explodes, however any local made fusing connecting to any triangular fireworks are never consistent, most of the time they burn less then a second or 2 which results in the firework exploding in your hand before releasing it.  All fireworks if used should only be ignited while lying on the ground. NEVER in your hand !!! This will prevent most but not all injuries.

    • buttones

      There was a time I am told in the UK that the celebration of November 5Th – the day hundreds of years ago Guy Fawkes tried to blow up Parliament the selling of fireworks at every licensed store was the order of the day so people could set of fireworks in their back gardens, kids of course got hold of these things, blinded one another, tied them to cats tails and shoved them in old ladies letter boxes and all the rest. So Government simply passed a Law, only local councils can buy fireworks, or registered pyrotechnic experts, and a show is put on by the local community, with fire engines standing by and ambulances just incase. It’s a Law, that’s all you need to have, and an organization that polices that Law- it’s really quite simple really, it is not rocket science.
      So now people go to these quite spectacular events and have a wonderful time, resting assured they are not going to maimed and certainly not have a bullet falling from thousands of feet embedded in their head. Maybe gun owners should be required to pass a test in physics, or Newton’s Law at least – what goes up comes down….

  • Antonio

    If you want a great alternative PNoy, check out Youtube and type “Giant Vuvuzela” and have such devices installed nationwide for use at the stroke of midnight every New Year! That way New Year will still be loud without people’s hands falling off from faulty firecrackers….

  • ed0408

    Firecrackers should be banned. There is no valid reason why this should not be specially for those children and adults who were maimed for life by firecrackers. If this gov’t. truly cares for its citizens, only good things that can benefit its citizenry should be allowed not maimed them.

  • jun

    Do you know how to light firecrackers? You never hold it in your hand. LIght it on the ground or fixed place. And be ready to run for your life.

    These firecrackers manufacturers must demonstrate to the authorities what happends when it explodes in your hands

  • joerizal

    If people want to kill themselves or blow parts of themselves off, I’d say let them. The government acting as big brother is not the right approach here. At some point, people should take responsibility for their own stupid actions. The government cannot stand between stupidity and a person with a lit firecracker in his/her hands. There is obviously a failure in enforcing regulations in manufacturing and distribution.Why not focus the government’s resources in correcting them? Smuggling is not a firecracker issue alone. It should be tackled as part of the bigger effort to rid the customs bureau of its rats.

  • disqusted0fu

    Gruesome image? which one? the bleeding hand? or the foolish face?

    • josefe38


  • Socorro

    Why only now? It has been years since news on the horrors of firecrackers are greeting us at new years day. I do wonder why are there illegal and legal when all the firecrackers are damaging. Grabe binabantayan pa ng mga pu;lis ang tindahan, dapat walang bigyan ng permit to sell, lahat dapat illegal, even in malls they sell, bakit pag legal ba  di makakaputol ng daliri?If the police do not know then watch news kasi ang media they know where to buy.

  • Axl

    in some provinces, the PNP confiscates the firecrackers then gave it to their relatives on the 31st of December. where’s the justice there? or worst, selling it to their friends.

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