Zamboanga City passes ordinance banning pyrotechnics
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Security concerns and other reasons prompted the Sangguniang Panlungsod (city council) to pass an ordinance permanently banning the use of pyrotechnics here.
The ordinance, formally approved and adopted on Tuesday, was authored by Councilor Benjamin Guingona IV. It bans the use, sale, possession, distribution, storage, and manufacture of firecrackers and pyrotechnics devices even during special occasions here.
However, the city council exempted from the ban the use of the city as transshipment point for all firecracker and pyrotechnic devices destined for nearby provinces and cites. This would be strictly regulated by the police’s Firearms, Explosives, Security Service Agency and Guards Supervisory (FESSAGS) unit and the Philippine Ports Authority.
Guingona said under the exemption, firecrackers for other areas would be allowed to be stored in the city for a maximum of six days only.
He said a technical working committee has been tasked to craft the implementing rules and regulations of the ordinance so it can be immediately implemented.
Guingona admitted that the siege of Zamboanga City arising from an attack by a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front was one of the main reasons he thought of the ban on firecrackers.
“The memories of the recent siege of Zamboanga are too fresh to be forgotten, and the message is clear and urgent: a definitive and decisive step in banning potential incendiary tools or devices has to be put in place on a permanent basis,” he reasoned out.
He said celebrations in the city would be more silent and solemn, such as this month’s Fiesta Pilar, because of the ordinance.
Guingona said aside from security concerns, he also thought of the ban because of the “numerous injuries caused by the use of firecrackers as reported by the Department of Health.”
DOH data showed that a total of 102 firecracker injuries were recorded here from 2010 to 2013.
Two major fires, which took place in January 2011 and in August 2013, were also believed to have been caused by firecrackers.
The August 2013 fire, which injured one person, had prompted Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco Salazar to issue an executive order that suspended the sale and use of firecrackers here.
This executive order has been credited for the zero firecracker injury in the city during the past Christmas and New Year’s Day celebrations.
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