By Freddie C. Velez
Malolos City, Bulacan — As the Christmas and New Year holidays fast approach, the governor of this firecrackers and pyrotechnics-producing province is making an impassioned appeal to the national government, particularly the Department of Health (DOH) and the Office of the President, to also consider the thousands of workers dependent on the industry before going ahead with implementing a total ban on firecrackers.
Governor Wilhemino M. Sy-Alvarado said, everyone wants to celebrate Christmas and, at the same time, greet the New Year with zero-casualty throughout the season of revelry, but he hopes this is not attained by snuffing out an entire industry.
It will be recalled that last October 12, DOH Secretary Paulyn Ubial announced the drafting of an executive order (EO) that would limit the use and possession of pyrotechnic devices throughout the country.
The draft EO, still awaiting the signature of President Duterte, was done by the DOH a few days after fire started at a firecrackers stall in Bocaue and spread through an entire commercial complex, killing two people, torching several cars, and injuring several other people.
“No one wanted that to happen. We can say there was neglect on the part of the stall owner and I understand the sentiments of those who fear a repeat of such an accident. But let us not overdo precaution by sacrificing the livelihood of over a hundred thousand workers in the pyrotechnics industry,” Alvarado said in Filipino.
“We will not tire nor cease from setting up inspections, organizing safety advocacy trainings, and reminding manufacturers and retailers on keeping safety and quality of their products and operations above standard,” added the governor.
The fireworks association based here said every year more or less 500 stakeholders of the multi-million peso local fireworks industry participate in Fireworks Safety Training Seminars held in this province and in other areas of the country.
Alvarado said he hopes the President and his other officials and advisers would heed the call of industry stakeholders to give them and the province of Bulacan a chance to prove that traditional merrymaking with the use of firecrackers and fireworks can continue safely.