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Itodo na! Duterte asks Congress to ban firecrackers

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By Xave Gregorio

President Rodrigo Duterte will push Congress to pass a law that will ban firecrackers and pyrotechnics after a 68 percent drop in firecracker-related injuries during the New Year revelries attributed to his executive order which limits the use of firecrackers.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing in Malacañang on Tuesday (January 9) that Duterte wants Congress to enact a law that will prohibit all firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices as soon as possible.

Duterte’s Executive Order No. 28 does not ban all fireworks and only provides for the use of firecrackers solely in community fireworks displays and still allows pyrotechnic devices to be used outside of these displays “subject to existing laws, rules and regulations.”

“He (Duterte) wants Congress to enact the law, begin hearing on the proposed bill that would ban firecrackers as early as possible to afford stakeholders to be consulted,” Roque said.

Despite the Department of Health’s attribution of the significant decrease in firecracker-related injuries at the start of 2018 to Duterte’s executive order, Roque said the President’s appeal to Congress to legislate a firecracker ban does not stem from recommendations from government agencies.

“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.

An estimated 75,000 workers in the firecracker and pyrotechnics industry stand to lose jobs if Congress passes a firecracker ban, according to Roque.

However, Roque said Duterte had instructed the Department of Trade and Industry “to look for alternative livelihood for the would be displaced workers.”