By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

ILLEGAL FIRECRACKERS. Members of the Pangasinan Police Provincial Office watch as a firefighter sprays water on seized illegal firecrackers and pyrotechnics in Lingayen town on Jan. 1, 2022. The law allows firecrackers only in designated areas and if these are registered products. (PNA photo by Jerick James Pasiliao)

MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Saturday said it will not arrest users of pyrotechnic devices outside their residences during New Year’s Eve revelries.

“The PNP would like to clarify that we will not apprehend those who will be using pyrotechnics or pailaw outside their residences even if such areas are not identified by their respective local government units (LGUs) as designated areas for fireworks use and display,” Col. Redrico Maranan, PNP public information office chief, said in a statement on Saturday.

He said Executive Order (EO) 28 that regulates the use of firecrackers only in designated areas as may be identified by LGUs exclude pyrotechnics or fireworks.

“As the new year celebration is merely hours ahead, the PNP will be aggressively implementing the said EO and monitor the compliance on the directive of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to LGUs on the designation of areas for firecrackers use as well as other laws and regulations related to it,” Maranan said.

On Friday, National Capital Region Police Office chief, Maj. Gen. Jonnel Estomo, led the destruction of more than PHP700,000 worth of illegal firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices confiscated in line with “Ligtas Paskuhan 2022” operations.

This initiative is based on Presidential Memorandum Order No. 31, directing the PNP and other concerned agencies to strictly implement existing laws, rules and regulations on the sale, manufacture, distribution and use of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices.

“It is our fervent desire to at least minimize this recurrent perennial problem, if not to zero, firecracker-related injuries and fire incidents in Metro Manila.  However, I am saddened that despite the clear and constant reminders which we have communicated with the people of Metro Manila using all forms of media available, there are those who disregarded this friendly reminder,” Estomo said in a separate statement.

Under Republic Act 7183, or the Act Regulating the Sale, Manufacture, Distribution and Use of Firecrackers and other Pyrotechnic Devices, a person 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.

Section 4 of the law states that “any person desiring to manufacture, sell or distribute fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices shall file an application for the issuance of license or business permit with the chief of the PNP.”

Estomo likewise warned commanders they would be relieved from their posts if they fail to prevent their personnel from firing their issued firearms. (PNA)