Firecracker makers warned against ‘Digong’ | Inquirer News

Firecracker makers warned against ‘Digong’

/ 07:06 AM December 28, 2017

CITY OF MALOLOS — As demand for fireworks and firecrackers rises, illegal manufacturers and traders usually try to outdo each other by coming up with powerful mixes named after the newsmakers of the year, including one called “Digong.”

But Celso Cruz, president emeritus of the Philippine Pyrotechnic Manufacturers and Dealers Association Inc. (PPMDAI), said producing such  potentially dangerous firecrackers and naming them after prominent people “could add more problems to the industry that is now in peril.”

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The fireworks business has reported a slowdown following the issuance of Executive Order No. 28, which restricts firecracker use to designated areas on New Year’s Eve.

In Central Luzon, 2,483 villages have yet to comply with the order to set up community fireworks display or firecracker zones (FCZs).

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As of Wednesday, only 619 of 3,102 villages in the region had established FCZs, according to a list released by Chief Supt. Amador Corpus, Central Luzon police director.

Most of these areas are in or near basketball courts, plazas and cemeteries. There are 23 FCZs in Aurora, 68 in Bataan, 201 in Bulacan, 92 in Nueva Ecija, 31 in Pampanga, 27 in Tarlac, 163 in Zambales and 14 in Angeles City in Pampanga.

Fearing that EO 28 would bring down sales, many manufacturers opted not to produce more pyrotechnic devices for the New Year’s Eve revelry.

Cruz said he had received reports that firecracker users have been looking for firecrackers called “Bato,” apparently named after Director General Ronald dela Rosa, chief of the Philippine National Police.

But Cruz said he feared the use of the “Digong” firecrackers would get the ire of President Duterte, who since his years as Davao City mayor had been known to keep a tight rein on the use of firecrackers.

Some manufacturers have attributed the slump in sales to the crackdown.

Cruz said he expected some firecrackers to be named “Maute” after the terrorist group that held Marawi City in its grip for five months, as well as “John Lloyd Cruz” and “Ellen Adarna,” after the celebrities who had been in the news lately.

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“It’s hard to explain this phenomenon. There are customers who request at the very last minute for powerful firecrackers they have been accustomed to buying from underground traders,” Cruz said.

Among the illegal firecrackers that had been in demand were  “Goodbye, Philippines” and “Bin Laden,” the latter named after the founder of the al-Qaida terrorist group.

“Goodbye, Gloria” firecrackers also became popular at the time following then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s public apology over the 2004 “Hello Garci” election scandal.

“Trillanes” firecrackers were named after Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who as a Navy officer led a failed uprising against Arroyo.

“Goodbye, Philippines” and “Goodbye, Gloria” were 15.2-cm to 20.3-cm triangular firecrackers. “Bin Laden” was sold in tubes.

But not every label was inspired by controversial or disturbing events. The illegal firecracker called “Pacquiao,” for example, was meant to honor world boxing champion and Sen. Manny Pacquiao. —Reports from Carmela Reyes-Estrope and Tonette Orejas

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TAGS: Celso Cruz, Digong, Firecrackers, illegal fireworks, PPMDAI
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