Firecracker makers seek gov’t control of online selling
BOCAUE, Bulacan, Philippines — “Adding to cart” firecrackers and pyrotechnic products might no longer be a possibility as regulation and restriction of the online selling of these items is being pushed to discourage illegal manufacturers and the presence of prohibited products in the virtual marketplace.
Lea Alapide, president of the Philippine Pyrotechnic Manufacturers and Dealers Association Inc. (PPMDAI), sought the help of the Philippine National Police Firearms and Explosives Office (PNP-FEO) to seek the full cooperation and compliance of big online market firms in the country today.
Alapide told the Inquirer on Tuesday that two large online selling platforms had accommodated products made and distributed by unlicensed makers and dealers, including prohibited products that can cause accidental explosions if mishandled during delivery or transport.
She said dealers and distributors of firecrackers and pyrotechnic products, including the online platform markets, should only patronize and source their supply from accredited manufacturers who had obtained permits and paid other fees, licenses and taxes to the government.
“In behalf of the PPMDAI, we want to seek your help in resolving the increasing number of online sellers who are not license holders. Sadly, this is unfair to those who painstakingly fulfilled all the requirements needed in acquiring the license,” Alapide said in a letter sent to the PNP in September.
Alapide said the big online market firms have been entertaining transactions that allowed the illegal and regulated firecrackers to be purchased via their platforms.
“The question of safety comes to mind. Licensed manufacturers have been calling our urgent attention,” her letter also said.
PNP-FEO acting chief Col. Paul Kenneth Lucas, in a letter in October, reminded officials of two of the country’s biggest online selling companies that their activities were regulated by the government.
“It has to be made clear that online selling of these items or goods (illegal fireworks) is not exempted from PNP regulation as the FEO, pursuant to existing laws, rules and regulations, regulates the dealership, sale, distribution, and or retail of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices,” the letter said.
Lucas also sent the same letter to Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual.
As of Wednesday, the two online selling companies had not responded to letters from authorities or released statements through social media.
Alapide said her group earlier met with Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) officials in Bulacan to discuss their concerns.
Edna Dizon, the DTI Bulacan director, said they learned that the online selling platforms had no complete list of all licensed manufacturers and dealers, particularly those based in Bulacan province and Bocaue town, considered the “fireworks capital” of the country. She said the e-market platforms also do not have the list of legal, prohibited, and regulated products.
The DTI issues Philippine Standard (PS) Quality and/or Safety Mark to all fireworks products. All items that are sold in stalls and online must have the PS mark as this is an assurance of quality and safety, Dizon said.
“PS Mark should be checked by consumers, especially for firecrackers and pyrotechnic products,” she said.
Bocaue and other Bulacan towns manufacturing fireworks have around 25 to 30 licensed manufacturers.
Dizon said only 10 had been issued the PS Mark while others are still completing the requirements. Two companies which outside of Bulacan but are PPMDAI members have also been given the PS Mark, she said.
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