MANILA, Philippines–As the New Year’s celebration draws near, the number of people arrested in Metro Manila for firecracker-related offenses rose to 88 the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said.
This came after President Benigno Aquino expressed concern Sunday over the sale of oversized firecrackers, and chastised emergency services officials for failing to shut down factories and retailers making and selling them.
NCRPO chief, Police Director Leonardo Espina said that from the 18 arrested people Sunday, a total of 88 people have been arrested as of 7 a.m. Monday for violations of Republic Act 7183, the act regulating the sale, manufacture, distribution and use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices.
Republic Act 7183 states that the manufacturers, distributors and users of banned firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices may be imprisoned from six months to a year with a fine from P20,000 to P30,000 once caught.
Among others, Goodbye Philippines, Giant Plapla, Giant Lolo, Giant Bawang, Coke-in-Can Bomb, Bin Laden, Kwiton Bomb, Goodbye Bading, Kabasi, and Picolo are firecrackers that have been banned for being hazardous.
From the 170 operations the NCRPO has conducted against illegal firecrackers, Espina said 639 boxes of Piccolo have been confiscated, along with one truckload of assorted firecrackers and pyrotechnics seized in Manila.
Two pick-ups, and two other jeepneeys loaded with same items were also confiscated in Quezon City, and Eastern Police District area, respectively, Espina said.
Moreover, four stalls were closed down and 35 ambulant vendors were banned from selling firecrackers.
Senior Superintendent Dionardo Carlos said Leonardo Espina has given the directive to all District Directors and Chiefs of Police to intensify police operations against persons that will use, and sell illegal firecrackers.
Espina also ordered the arrest of persons who will illegally use their firearms, as well as those who will drink liquor in public places, and those who will violate city ordinances, Carlos said.
“These efforts are geared towards having a safe celebration of New Year’s revelry,” Espina said, noting that these operations are to be accomplished on top of the regular police patrols, arresting of criminals, and other wanted persons, and the investigation of previous crime incidents.
“Your metro cops working for you for the safe entry of 2013,” Espina said.