By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

(File photo)

MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday said it will deploy police officers to villages to augment village watchmen to prevent untoward incidents and the use of firecrackers during the New Year revelries.

PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said that as early as November, the PNP already coordinated with local government units to monitor the holding of fireworks displays during the New Year revelries, especially in the courtyards of barangays which are not often visited by the police.

Naglagay na tayo ng mga tinatawag nating mga pulis sa barangay na magsisilbing supervisors ng ating mga force multipliers. Iba pa rin na makikita nila yung mga unipormadong pulis ay nag iikot, medyo mag aalangan at minsan hindi naman pinapansin (We have placed what we call policemen in the barangay to serve as supervisors of our force multipliers. It’s still different if they (would-be violators) see the uniformed policemen walking around, they hesitate a little and sometimes they don’t pay attention if they see only force multipliers),” Fajardo said in a radio interview.

Fajardo reminded the public against lighting firecrackers outside their residence as they will be apprehended in accordance with Executive Order No. 28 which prohibits residential and personal use of fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices and instead go to the community fireworks display.

Mag-aaresto tayo dahil yan naman ay clear violation ng mga inilabas na mga utos lalong lalo umiiral pa rin naman yung mga EO 28 kung saan nagmamandato ng mga common fireworks display areas at meron na rin mga ordinansang inilabas ng mga cities and municipalities kung saan inenforce nila yung provisions ng EO 28 para doon lamang sa mga designated fireworks areas magpaputok (We will conduct arrests because this is a clear violation of the orders issued especially E.O. 28 which mandates the use of common fireworks display areas and the ordinances of each citieis and municipalities that they used in enforcing or strengthening EO28 so that there will just be the designated fireworks areas),” Fajardo said.

Signed by former President Rodrigo Duterte in 2017, EO 28 promulgates stricter rules and regulations on the use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices to prevent injuries and casualties recorded every year.

She said they will be using the EO to arrest people who would insist on lighting up firecrackers outside their residences.

“Iyun po ang gagamitin namin na armas para tayo iimplement itong mga batas na nagbabawal ng paggamit ng anumang uri ng paputok doon sa mga residential areas (We will use this [EO 28] as a tool to implement the law and prevent the use of fireworks in residential areas),” Fajardo said.

Those who will be arrested will be charged under Republic Act 7183, or the Act Regulating the Sale, Manufacture, Distribution and Use of Firecrackers and other Pyrotechnic Devices.

Mga mahuli in the act of committing a crime, puwede tayo mag effect ng mga warrantless arrest at i-inquest po natin siya for violation ng RA 7183 na nagre-regulate ng paggamit at pagbebenta ng mga prohibited firecrackers (Those caught in the act of committing a crime, we can effect warrantless arrests and conduct an inquest for violation of RA 7183 that regulates the use and sale of prohibited firecrackers),” she added.

Under RA 7183, any person who will be caught manufacturing, selling, distributing or using illegal firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices will face a fine of PHP20,000 to PHP30,000, imprisonment of six months to one year, cancellation of license and business permit and confiscation of inventory stocks.

The PNP is currently ramping up its efforts to conduct cyber patrol, confiscation and destruction of banned firecrackers and pyrotechnics.

Fajardo said that as of 6:30 a.m. Friday, they arrested nine individuals in relation to illegal possession, use or sale of firecrackers.

An estimated 27,829 pieces of firecrackers were confiscated, with an estimated value of PHP361,968.

The PNP earlier reminded the public not to patronize illegal firecrackers that can cause injuries. (PNA)