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Fireworks makers seek Duterte help in lifting industry out of stone age

Sep 24, 2017 @ 12:13
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Local fireworks makers are asking President Rodrigo Duterte to help lift their craft out of the stone age.

Engineer Celso C. Cruz, chairman emeritus of the Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association Inc. (PPMDAI), said that while they agreed with the good intention of President Rodrigo Duterte in signing Executive Order 28, which limited the use of fireworks, it should also make good its obligation to develop the industry as mandated under Republic Act 7183 otherwise known as the “Fireworks Law of 1992”.

Cruz admitted the industry was trapped in the stone age mainly due to the ingredients being used by stubborn manufacturers who were still using the highly unstable mixture of sulfur and chlorate, locally known as “kolarato” and “devil’s powder.”

Cruz said these ingredients had been banned in developed countries for more than 100 years because of its unstable and deadly character.

“When this mixture gets wet, there is always spontaneous reaction which most of the time is the cause of deadly explosions,” he said.

He said the PPMDAI has called for a ban to control these widely available and cheap but dangerous materials but nobody in the government seemed knowledgeable about the local industry.

“To make the industry safer and globally competitive, there should be experts that could understand it. Most of the time, when there are explosions, nobody can scientifically explain the cause of it,” he said.

Cruz cited Secretary Fortunato T. Dela Pena of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) as the lone agency who knew how the industry operated.

“The fireworks industry is all about science and with the DOST helping us, we at long last has finally found its “messiah”, Cruz said.

He said the DOST, in coordination with the PPMDAI, has sent Dr. Annabelle Brion, deputy director for Industrial Technology Development Institute of DOST, to Japan to attend the World International Fireworks Symposium, a gathering of the world association of manufacturers, regulators and technology experts.

“DOST’s efforts are a major breakthrough in propelling the local fireworks industry to greater heights,” Cruz said.

The PPMDAI official also hailed the appointment of Chief Supt. Valeriano de Leon as head of the PNP-Firearms and Explosive Office.

He said De Leon knew the industry well because of his stint as the provincial officer of the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Bulacan and Davao. (PNA)

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