Individual use of firecrackers in Baguio to be banned

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BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance banning the individual use of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices in the city and providing penalties for violation thereof and for other purposes.

The ordinance authored by Councilor Joel Alangsab states it is the primary objective of the proposed measure to safeguard public health and ensure the well-being of all its constituents by protecting them from the harmful effects of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices through individual use of the same and such other similar devices and the exploding of the same and other explosives.

The ordinance stipulates that the ban shall apply to all persons, whether natural or juridical, whether residents or not, and in all places, found within the jurisdiction of the city.

Under the proposed ordinance, it shall be unlawful for any person to possess any firecracker or pyrotechnic devices or such other similar devices within the territory of the city except for those duly approved by the measure and it shall likewise, be unlawful for any person to discharge or explode, or cause to discharge or to explode, any firecracker, pyrotechnic devices or any other explosive or to use any device at anytime and anywhere within the city.

Among those liable to be charged under the provisions of the ordinance include any person who commits any of the prohibited acts and persons-in-charge who knowingly allow, abate, or tolerate the prohibited acts.

Violation of any provisions of the ordinance shall be fined P1,000 or imprisonment of not more than 1 month but not less than 90 days or both fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court for the first offense,  P3,000 or imprisonment of not more than 3 months but not less than 1 month or both at the discretion of the court for the second offense, and P5,000 or imprisonment of not more than 6 months or both at the discretion of the court for the third offense.

The ordinance mandates the creation of a task force to be chaired by the City Mayor and composed of the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO), City Director, City Fire Marshal, City Health Officer, City Legal Officer, Public Information Officer, City Environment and Parks Management Officer, chairpersons of the Committee on Health, Sanitation, Ecology and Environment, Liga ng mga Barangay president and Public Order and Safety Officer to aid in the implementation, endorsement and monitoring of the proposed measure, as well as to conduct educational awareness campaigns and information dissemination programs to inform the public on the contents of the measure.

Concerned offices are tasked to provide at least 2 copies of the measure to every police station and barangay hall in the city, provide a primer on the contents of the measure to every police station and barangay officials in the city and conduct lectures to brief members of the BCPO of the provisions of the ordinance and of their responsibilities with respect to its enforcement within 60 days upon the effectivity of the ordinance.

An initial funding to defray the expenses necessary for all incidental to the implementation of the ordinance in the amount of P100,000 shall be sourced from the city government fund and will be allocated for the said purpose every year thereafter with at least P50,000 automatically included in the annual budget of the city for the enforcement of the same.

By Dexter A. See
Photo by Armando M. Bolislis