Fireworks manufacturer urges pyrotechnics use over firecrackers

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 18) — With President Rodrigo Duterte recently floating the idea of banning firecrackers nationwide, a fireworks manufacturer said pyrotechnics are a safer option.

Speaking to CNN Philippines' The Exchange, Dragon Fireworks CEO and owner Joven Ong said pyrotechnics are only for outdoors.

"We're trying to spur people to use more on pyrotechnics instead of firecrackers," said Ong. In other countries, there's a ban on firecrackers but pyrotechnics is legally used. You can see that there are not a lot of people getting hurt."

In 2017, Duterte signed Executive Order 28, which limits the use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices to lessen the risk of injuries and casualties. Under the EO, only "community fireworks displays" are allowed during celebrations, competitions or similar events held in a venue other than anyone's residence

Since then, the Health department has observed a downtrend in firecracker injuries during the holiday season. The agency reported 191 cases in 2018, which is 77 percent down from 2017. Meanwhile, 164 injuries were logged in 2019, less by 35 percent from the year prior.

"Don't kill the industry; just focus on those that are actually causing the injuries," said Ong. "If you don't give people a legal option on safe pyrotechnics, then people will end up using illegal firecrackers."

He said a shutdown of legal fireworks makers will result in more illegal manufacturers. He reiterated calls from the industry for stricter implementation of fireworks rules and monitoring of pyrotechnics for sale.