MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte will ask Congress to craft a law that would outlaw firecrackers following a drop in the number of injuries in the recent New Year revelry, Malacañang said Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the President wants Congress to begin tackling the proposal so that voices of all stakeholders in the firecracker industry would be heard.
“He (Duterte) realizes that there will be about 75,000 individuals who are working in this industry. He instructed the Department of Trade and Industry to look for alternative livelihood for the would-be displaced workers,” Roque said in a news briefing.
“He wants Congress to enact this law at the soonest time possible so that the public debate on the banning of fireworks and pyrotechnics could begin as early as possible.”
The Department of Health (DOH) reported 463 firecracker-related injuries as Filipinos welcomed 2018, a 27 percent decrease from the previous year.
The DOH attributed the decline in firecracker-related injuries to Duterte’s executive order limiting the use of firecrackers to designated areas.
The drop also prompted Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to recommend a total ban on firecrackers.
Duterte had banned firecrackers in Davao City, where he was long-time mayor. Roque said this local policy he had initiated, instead of a recommendation, must have prompted the President's proposal for a nationwide ban.
“The President has always banned firecrackers in Davao City as a mayor. So I don’t think it’s a result of a recommendation of any other than it’s a result of his own prognosis that firecrackers and pyrotechnics are inimical to human health and safety,” Roque said.
Currently, there are three proposals regulating the use, manufacture, distribution, and sale of firecrackers pending before the Senate, and nine before the House of Representatives.