Government agencies crackdown on illegal pyrotechnics

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Manufacturers of illegal fireworks have also tried to cash in the 'Miss Universe' craze with pyrotechnics named 'Hello Colombia' and 'Goodbye Philippines.'

Bocaue, Bulacan (CNN Philippines) — Government agencies continue to inspect stores selling fireworks and pyrotechnic devices in Bocaue, Bulacan as New Year's eve nears.

The agencies want to make sure products being sold are safe and in accordance with government standards.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are generally satisfied, but store owners are not so thrilled.

With only two days before New Year's eve, most fireworks dealers in Bocaue, Bulacan complained of slow business.

According to the dealers, only a handful of customers are showing up, unlike in previous years when their stores were bustling with buyers around this time.

The Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association, Inc. (PPMDAI) blamed the government's anti-fireworks campaign for the slowdown.

The group said the fireworks industry will soon die if the Department of Health (DOH) continues its "Iwas Paputok" program.

DOH: Health remains top priority

Based on records of the Philippine National Police, the country has 73 manufacturers of fireworks and pyrotechnic devices, 30 of which are in Bocaue.

Of the 289 dealers nationwide, 112 are based in Bulacan.

Despite complaints from the fireworks dealers, the DOH said its priority remains to be the health of the general public.

Naiintindihan namin na nasasagasaan itong mga nagbebenta. Pero trabaho namin e proteksyunan ang kalusugan ng nakararami,” said DOH spokesperson Dr. Landon Lee Suy.

[Translation: “We understand that these sellers are affected, but our job is to protect the health of the majority.”]

Hello Colombia, Goodbye Philippines

The PPMDAI pointed out that majority of fireworks-related accidents and injuries are traced to illegal fireworks which are made abroad and illegally brought to the country.

The group insisted its members strictly follow government regulations and quality standards to ensure the public's safety.

Illegally-sold firecrackers are extremely dangerous as they contain more than the legally allowed amount of black powder.

Some of these overweight and oversized firecrackers are the pla-pla, atomic bomb and giant whistle bombs.

Amid the Miss Universe fever, these highly dangerous crackers were named ‘Hello Colombia’ and ‘Goodbye Philippines.’

The PNP said sellers usually give quirky new names to illegal firecrackers to entice buyers, such as the huge firecrackers called "Goodbye Bading," which explodes with a force of a hand grenade.

So far, the police said the ‘Goodbye Bading’ is the biggest illegal firecracker they've discovered this year.

Related: Traffic builds up around fireworks stores in Bocaue, Bulacan