Call for total ban vs. firecrackers snowballs

BAGUIO CITY – The call for the city council to adopt an ordinance for a total ban in the sale and use of firecrackers has snowballed here.

Last Friday, officials of 47 barangays trooped to the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Baguio City fire station to submit their respective barangay resolutions calling for a total prohibition on the sale and use of these pyrotechnic devices.

The resolutions along with the over 14,000 signatures of support to the total ban collated within two weeks in a campaign spearheaded by the BFP Baguio led by fire chief Supt. Joe Fernand Bangyod were turned over to Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda who vowed to sponsor the necessary ordinance at the city council.

Bangyod pushed for the total firecracker ban in line with the BFP’s Safe Baguio Project which aims to promote a safe city year-round by making the city firecracker injury-free and by enhancing the safety capabilities of the barangays through the construction of fire stations in each of the city’s 20 districts and through the provision of an ambulance per barangay to provide mobility during emergency situations.

Tabanda said her legislative measure is in response to the clamor for a total firecracker sale and use prohibition which no less than Mayor Mauricio Domogan has been advocating.

The mayor has for years been appealing to the city council to adopt an ordinance to effect a total ban citing the danger posed by these devices on the lives and limbs of the constituents and their harmful effects on the city’s environment.

Last week, the mayor also forwarded to the city council the endorsement of city environment and parks management officer (CEPMO) Cordelia Lacasamana which showed that the recorded concentrations of particulate matter at the Baguio Sewage Treatment Plant in North Sanitary Camp elevated and peaked with a concentration of 105.88 micrograms per cubic meter from Dec. 24-26 and to 119.86 mcg/m3 from Dec. 31 to January 2, 2016.

Wastewater Water and Ambient Air Management Division chief Moises Lozano attributed this rise in air pollutants during said times to the firecracker and pyrotechnics combustion and smoke from outdoor cooking and burning in celebration of Christmas and New Year.

The mayor endorsed the report to the city council as reference in the passage of the ordinance disallowing the sale and use of firecrackers.

The city has an existing firecracker ordinance but the prohibition covers only the sale of certain types of devices.

“For the last two years, the mayor had not allowed the sale of the firecrackers in our city so taking cue from the mayor, I decided to approach our fire chief and inform him of my intention to sponsor a proposal and requesting him to provide the necessary documents to support my ordinance,” Tabanda told barangay leaders who attended the turn-over program.

She told the barangay leaders that the absolute ban would mean prohibition on the display, sale, use and distribution of these devices.

She said one issue that needs to be resolved will be whether to give exemption to fireworks displays during city-sponsored activities like the Panagbenga and special occasions like Christmas, New Year and Chinese new year.

An informal vote during the meeting showed the barangay leaders divided over the issue prompting Tabanda to ask the officials to further consult their constituents on the matter/A Refuerzo


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