CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan — With the implementation of Executive Order 28 that limits the use of firecrackers in the country, local manufacturers and dealers have found their “messiah” that could propel the local industry to new frontiers and at par with global standards.
Engineer Celso C. Cruz, chairman emeritus of the Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association Inc. (PPMDAI), said that while they agree with the good intention of President Rodrigo Duterte in signing Executive Order 28, they are also appealing that the government should support the local fireworks industry as mandated under Republic Act 7183 otherwise known as the “Fireworks Law of 1992”.
Cruz admitted to local newsmen that their group is presently working with the Philippine National Police, the prime administrator of RA 7183, and different government agencies to uplift their industry which he said can be considered as “still in the stone age”.
He explained that this is mainly due to the ingredients being used by stubborn manufacturers, most of them still use the highly unstable mixture of sulfur and chlorate, locally known as “kolarato” and “devil’s powder.”
Cruz said local manufacturers are still using that deadly mixture which had been banned in developed countries for more than 100 years because of its unstable and deadly character.
“When this mixture got wet there is always spontaneous reaction which most of the time is the cause of deadly explosions (sic),” he said.
The PPMDAI has long been calling for its prohibition but due to its availability in the market, local manufacturers still prefer to use it despite its deadly properties because the price of the ingredients is lower than the safe ones now being used by other countries,” Cruz said.
He also said that while there are agencies that are involved in regulating the local fireworks industry like the PNP (Civil Security Group), the Department of Health, the Department of Labor and Employment and the Bureau of Fire Protection, nobody in the government seemed knowledgeable about the local industry.
“To make the industry safer and globally competitive, there should be experts that could understand it. Most of the time, when there are explosions, nobody can scientifically explain the cause of it,” he said.
But lately, Cruz said their national association is thankful to Secretary Fortunato T. Dela Pena of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) for understanding the plight of the industry and is now actively working with the PPMDAI to remove it from its “stone age” stature.
“The fireworks industry is all about science and with the DOST helping us, we at long last has finally found its “messiah”, Cruz said.
He said that the DOST, in coordination with the PPMDAI, has already sent their “scientist” to Japan to attend the World International Fireworks Symposium which was attended by world association of manufacturers, regulators and technology experts.
Cruz said that Dela Pena has sent Dr. Annabelle Brion, deputy director for Industrial Technology Development Institute of DOST.
With this in progress, Cruz said that there will be technology upliftment in the industry because local manufacturers will now get the chance to know the latest safety procedures and technology in making safe and quality fireworks.
“DOST is a major breakthrough in propelling the local fireworks industry to greater heights,” Cruz said.
The PPMDAI official also hailed President Duterte for the appointment of Chief Supt. Valeriano de Leon as head of the PNP-Firearms and Explosive Office.
He said De Leon is an officer who knows the industry well because of his stint as the provincial officer of the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Bulacan and Davao. (PNA)