Gatchalian: Public appeals vs firecrackers ‘futile’
MANILA — Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian has cited the need for legislation to ban firecrackers, noting that appeals and reminders have never worked to keep people away from what has long been a traditional New Year practice.
The lawmaker, who authored a bill to ban firecrackers, said injuries continued to happen despite the government’s annual campaign.
“Appealing to the public to avoid playing with firecrackeres is futile. Our government spends so much money on advertising and warning the public and yet accidents are prevalent,” Gatchalian said through a text message to the Inquirer as he visited the Middle East.
“I proposed to completely ban retail sale and use of firecrackers to prevent accidents, fires and negative environmental effects,” he said.
Gatchalian’s Senate Bill No. 1140 seeks to ban the use, manufacture, sale, distribution and possession of “any firecracker of pyrotechnic device, or such other similar devices.”
His proposal also seeks to make it illegal “for any person to discharge or explode, or cause to discharge or to explode, any firecracker, or any other explosive or to use any pyrotechnic device or any such other similar device.”
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III also filed a bill banning firecrackers, reviving a proposal he had filed in the previous Congress.
Both measures proposed to grant exemptions only to pyrotechnics professionals who would stage fireworks displays in designated areas.
Sen. Nancy BInay also reprised her 2013 bill to outlaw the sale and provision of any kind of firecracker to children 15 years and below.
On his Twitter account, Gatchalian called for support for his measure, which was filed in September but has yet to undergo committee hearings. The bill seeks to institutionalize nationwide what President Rodrigo Duterte had imposed in Davao City during his time as mayor.
Posting an infographic, Gatchalian cited that 831 firecracker-related injuries happened last year, 43 percent due to Piccolo and 57 percent because of other types of firecrackers, including the five-star and improvised cannons called “boga.” CDG/rga