Be strict with firecracker ban, Abalos tells local governments | Inquirer News

Be strict with firecracker ban, Abalos tells local governments

By: - Reporter / @dexcabalzaINQ
/ 05:19 AM December 28, 2023

DILG chief reminds LGUs to ensure public safety during the New Year revelry; ordinances, rules on firecracker use must be enforced down to barangays, he says

SEIZED | Maj. Bernardino Venturina, Juan Luna police station commander in Manila, shows boxes of illegal firecrackers confiscated from vendors in Divisoria ahead of the New Year’s Eve revelry. Last week, Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos said he wanted a total ban on firecrackers that cause injuries during the celebration to welcome the new year. (Photo by MARIANNE BERMUDEZ / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos has called on local governments to strictly enforce their respective ordinances banning the use of harmful firecrackers and lessen, if not eliminate, pyrotechnics-related injuries before and during the New Year’s Eve celebration.

“I continue to remind our LGUs (local government units), especially the ones with local ordinances already in place, to be the first ones to ensure that there will be no one hurt due to firecrackers in the coming holiday revelries,” Abalos said in a statement on Wednesday.


“Ensure that these ordinances are being strictly enforced. Let’s put teeth in our policies against the dangers of firecrackers,” he added.


Abalos commended the 35 LGUs that have complied with his recent directive to pass ordinances akin to a total ban on the use of firecrackers to ensure safe and injury-free celebrations for their constituents.

He called on municipal and city governments to ensure that ordinances against firecrackers are being implemented down to the barangay level.


Abalos earlier issued Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2023-202, directing the LGUs in the country to pass ordinances “to ban the individual, personal, or household use of firecrackers of any kind.”

Cities and municipalities are also “encouraged” to restrict the use of firecrackers only to community fireworks displays that have a permit from the concerned LGU.

In the draft ordinance enclosed in the memo, the DILG recommended harsh penalties for its violators: imprisonment of not more than six months and/or a fine of not more than P2,500 at the discretion of the court.

Establishments violating the ordinance are also recommended to have their business permits summarily revoked.


These penalties imposed by the ordinance are separate from those arising from violation of Republic Act No. 7183, the 1992 law regulating the manufacturing, selling, and use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices.

Under the law, any person caught manufacturing, selling, distributing or using illegal firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices will face a fine of up to P30,000, imprisonment of six months to a year, as well as cancellation of license and business permit and confiscation of inventory stocks.

The police are authorized confiscate illegal firecrackers listed and described under DILG MC No. 2017-105, supplemented by MC 2017-168, particularly “watusi,” “piccolo,” “pop pop,” and “five star”—which are considered small, but are still prohibited for causing a number of injuries to the public, especially children.

Deaths, injuries

Also considered illegal are firecrackers with a fuse that burn in less than three seconds or more than six seconds; firecrackers with a mixture of phosphorus or sulfur and chlorate; and other types of firecrackers with explosive powder of more than 0.2 grams or a third of a teaspoon.

Based on data from the Philippine National Police, from Dec. 16 to Dec. 26, two persons were killed and 17 others were injured due to firecrackers and pyrotechnics.

The two deaths were recorded when a truck transporting firecrackers caught fire while parked at a transport terminal in Marikina City on Dec. 17.

PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo on Tuesday said a total of 34,158 pieces of illegal firecrackers, worth P190,390, had been confiscated.

In 2017, then-President Rodrigo Duterte issued Executive Order (EO) No. 28, which confines firecracker use to community fireworks displays. This EO became the blueprint of local ordinances regulating firecracker use in towns and cities.

This policy has been cited for the consistent decrease in firecracker-related injuries in recent years.

It was in 2001 when Duterte, then mayor of Davao City, issued an EO outlawing the sale and use of firecrackers in the city over the rising number of firecracker-related injuries and other incidents. The city council passed an ordinance prohibiting the use of firecrackers the following year.

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The city since then has been recording zero firecracker-related casualties. Instead of lighting pyrotechnics and firecrackers, Davaoeños welcome the coming year with their “Torotot Festival,” where people simultaneously blow party horns on New Year’s Eve. INQ

TAGS: Benhur Abalos, Department of the Interior and Local Government, firecrackers ban

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