ZAMBOANGA CITY Mayor John M. Dalipe on Thursday called on the public to “strictly observe” rules on the organized display of fireworks, which is being allowed again this year after a total ban imposed in 2013.
In a statement, the local government reiterated the provisions of City Ordinance 596, or The Professional Display of Pyrotechnics or Commercial Fireworks Regulatory Ordinance, which includes a continued ban on all types of firecrackers and consumer pyrotechnics.
The law defines firecrackers and consumer pyrotechnics as devices that are “readily available for purchase by the general public with little or no special licensing and training.” These include skyrockets or locally known as kwitis, baby rockets, bawang, small triangulo, pulling of strings, paper caps, el diablo, watusi, Judah’s belt, and other equivalents with explosive content.
The prohibition covers the use, sale, possession, distribution, storage, and manufacture of these firecrackers and consumer pyrotechnics.
Violators face a fine of P5,000 or at least six months in jail, or both upon a court’s discretion.
On the other hand, permits may be secured for the professional display of pyrotechnics or commercial fireworks using accredited products.
Those who will operate these displays are required to secure a permit from the city government, with the application indicating venue and security plan for the site to ensure the safety of spectators, among other prerequisites.
Aside from New Year’s Eve, the ordinance also allows fireworks displays during the celebration of Christmas eve and day, Chinese New Year, Eid Al Fitr, Eid Al Adha, Dia de Zamboanga, Zamboanga Hermosa Festival, and other special public occasions as approved by the local government.
The fireworks and firecracker ban in 2013 was imposed following the three-week September siege of the city by members of the Moro National Liberation Front under Nur Misuari, which left 38 security forces and civilians dead and many areas in ruins.
“The scars remain and the healing continues,” the ordinance states, “yet there is a need to move toward normalcy… It is time to revert to our cultural tradition of lightening the dark skies during allowed special public occasions or celebrations.” — MSJ