MANILA — 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.”
Sen. Gregorio Honasan meanwhile warned the explosive punch of every “Goodbye, Philippines” or “Super Lolo” is strong enough for them to be categorized as high explosives and developed into indigenous military projectiles.
Honasan, a former Army colonel and chair of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, took responsibility, on Saturday, for the lack of action on two bills that would have imposed stiffer firecracker control.
President 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.
The President 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.
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.
The President wondered how children could “surreptitiously” buy them despite a ban.
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.
Senator Honasan said that the firecrackers manufacturing industry better be transformed into a homegrown military explosives industry.
“They’re in the category already of high explosives. The level of destruction and damage is amazing,” Honasan said.
“If we want to be imaginative… if we can push this as a component of our self-reliance program maybe we can develop—even [if] primitive—surface-to-surface missiles and surface-to-air missiles, with the kind of explosives we are using now,” added the senator./INQUIRER