BOCAUE, Bulacan , Philippines –Three weeks after an explosion at a firecracker factory killed three people and injured 20 others, fireworks factories and stores in this town are back in business.
The explosion in this town on Oct. 20 destroyed four fireworks stores and six other business establishments, six vehicles and millions of pesos worth of properties.
The Bocaue’s licensing officer said 90 fireworks retailers and seven manufacturers operate in the town.
Mayor Eleanor Villanueva-Tugna had ordered these establishments’ operations suspended, pending inspections by the Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire and health and municipal officials of Bocaue town.
Three weeks later, the mayor lifted her order, on the request of fireworks industry stakeholders, to let them resume operations, as they have complied with the requirements of their permits and licenses.
“Those that are still not permitted to operate means they still have to comply with the requirements on their permits, and these will be allowed to operate once they have complied with their requirements,” Tugna told The STAR.
Meanwhile, Lea Alapide, former president of the Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association, welcomed the move of the municipal mayor, quelling the firecrackers industry’s fears of a total ban in Bocaue.
Alapide earlier told The STAR that after Tugna ordered the temporary closure of all fireworks stores and manufacturers in Bocaue, their members were anxious about what would happen to their investments worth their millions of pesos.
“They are apprehensive that the total firecracker ban imposed in Davao City may also happen in Bocaue,” Alapide said, adding that President Duterte had hinted on calling for a total firecracker ban pending consultations with his Cabinet.
Over the weekend, fireworks stakeholders also told The STAR they felt relieved after learning that the President said in a Cabinet meeting last Thursday night that he wanted to take a second look at the effects of a total ban on firecrackers.
They said the President could be rethinking his plan to impose a ban on firecrackers, citing possible loss of livelihood and its impact on Filipino tradition of welcoming the new year.