TACLOBAN CITY – Eastern Visayas has 45 authorized retailers and four dealers of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices this holiday season, the police regional office here has reported.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) through the Regional Civil Security Unit (RSCU) has approved the special permits of 10 retailers in Eastern Samar, nine each in Leyte and Samar, six in Biliran, five each in Northern Samar and Southern Leyte, and one in Tacloban City plus the four authorized dealers.
RSCU clerk chief executive, Master Sgt. Joessie Delantar, said the number of retailers and dealers that secured special permits for this holiday season is lower compared to last year’s 56 and six, respectively.
“This has to do with the ongoing health crisis. Many have decided not to sell due to expected decrease in sales as movement and quarantine restrictions remain in place to contain the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19),” he said in a virtual press conference on Thursday.
Delantar said they conduct regular inspection of establishments in line with the intensified crackdown against the manufacture and sale of illegal firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices including piccolo, watusi, giant whistle bomb, giant bawang, large Judas belt, super lolo, lolo thunder, boga, and goodbye Philippines.
Persons caught manufacturing, selling, distributing, or using these illegal firecrackers may face a fine of PHP20,000-PHP30,000 or imprisonment of six months to one year, cancellation of license and business permit, and confiscation of inventory stocks.
From Dec. 21 last year to Jan. 6, 2020, the region recorded a total of 15 firecracker-related injuries in the region due to the use of boga, kwitis, five star, whistle bomb, recycled firecracker powder, binggala and piccolo.
The figure is 66 percent lower than 44 recorded injuries within the same reporting period in the previous year, according to the Department of Health.
Meanwhile, the police reported four incidents of indiscriminate firing, all involving civilians.
To maintain the downward trend of firecracker injuries in the region, Delantar urged everyone to use alternative noise-making and other equally enjoyable ways to celebrate and welcome the New Year without the risk of physical harm, except for “torotot” or whistle that would risk the spread of Covid-19 due to respiratory droplets.
The PNP also enjoins local government units to support this campaign by strictly enforcing the Executive Order 28 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2017 that provides for the regulation and control of the use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices.
Meanwhile, as part of its “Ligtas Paskuhan” campaign to ensure a safe Christmas season, the police regional office here has already deployed some 1,643 personnel in assistance hubs, churches, malls, public market, firecrackers display zones, community firecrackers zones, terminals, seaports, and airport.
This is on top of the anti-criminality teams deployed in the region. (PNA)