BOCAUE, Bulacan–Senator Joel Villanueva who hails from this considered fireworks capital of the country sees fireworks industry concerns as a 2022 presidential election issue with focus on policies to keep the business alive as it provides works and livelihoods to hundreds of Filipinos.
According to Villanueva, chair of senate labor, employment and human resource committee said a master plan which the next president should present is vital for all the industry stakeholders.
“It is very important that we have a master plan. Election is just around the corner. Iyong susunod na uupo ulit, ano ba ang policy niya regarding fireworks industry. Part na ng tradition natin yan. Ano ang usok ng fireworks na one time lang, tuwing salubong lang ng bagong taon, kumpara sa usok ng Edsa na oras oras minu-minuto,” the senator told reporters here on Wednesday.
He said the next president must know that the fireworks manufacturing industry has greatly improved over the years with notably zero accident because major players have been empowering themselves on safety and protection of all stake holders.
President Duterte known for his anti firecracker policy when he totally banned fireworks during his stint as mayor of Davao City had issued in 2017 Executive Order No. 28 which regulates and control the use of firecrackers in the country to prevent accident related incidents particularly during new year revelry.
The EO has badly hurt the industry as demand has started to decline because people were afraid the products are prohibited and they will be arrested.
EO 28 provides that use of firecrackers are only allowed in huge open spaces and not in one’s backyards prompting a reduction in the production and decline in sales.
Lea Alapide, president of Philippine Pyrotechnic Manufacturers and Dealers Association Inc. (PPMDAI) based in this town since then had lobbied to give them leeway in the production and sales.
Strong typhoon and the EO 28 had prompted about 100 small to medium firecracker manufacturers in this fireworks capital to abandon their livelihood.
Late Bocaue Mayor Joni Villanueva, sister of the senator had sought livelihood support and programs from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for those who were displaced.
Fireworks and pyrotechnic business in this industry capital including in southern Luzon areas, in the Visayas and in Mindanao would reach up to more than P1-billion worth with the raw materials like chemicals, papers, the licensing, permits and taxes, the salaries and benefits of the workers, their benefits, other production expenses, shipment costs including dealer’s rentals of stalls.
Manpower and livelihood involves about 500,000 businessmen, workers and other staffs and would reach more than one million including their family members friends and supporters.
Villanueva was in this town on Wednesday and distributedAssistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) to 1,281 beneficiaries and Tulong Panghanapbuhay para sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) job emergency program to 1,276 residents while his family celebrated the birth anniversary of late Mayor Villanueva who died of ailment while at the height of preparing ayuda packs for her town folks