MANILA: the Bureau of Customs (BOC) Philippines has seized two shipments those came from china containing illegal firecrackers but mentioned as tissue papers.
The cache of firecrackers includes a repackaged version of the “piccolo” and “pop pop,” which are illegal and prohibited from being sold and distributed nationwide.
The shipments, which arrived from China in October 2014, were subjected to 100 percent physical inspection recently following derogatory information from the Bureau’s Intelligence Group. Both were allegedly consigned to Stellent Corporation.
But in a statement sent later in the day, the BOC said that Stellent submitted an affidavit claiming that they were not their shipments.
“The Intelligence Group is looking into how Stellant’s E2M account was used to file the import entries, since each registered/accredited broker and importer have their own usernames and passwords,” Customs said.
Meanwhile, Customs Deputy Commissioner Jessie Dellosa said the BOC has reason to believe that at least five other shipments placed under Alert Orders all contain smuggled firecrackers.
“However, these shipments have yet to be subjected to 100 percent physical inspection under strict safety conditions at the port. What is worse is that the packaging of the firecrackers seized say these are made in Bulacan and even have text in Filipino,” he said.
“Let this be a warning to the public and to the local pyrotechnics industry that smugglers may be using legitimate manufacturers to sell illegal firecrackers,” he added.
Republic Act 7183, or the Anti-Firecrackers Law, strictly regulates the sale, manufacture, distribution and use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnics for the prevention of injuries, death, and damage to properties caused by firecrackers.
It also bans about 20 firecrackers with explosive content at over 0.2 grams, the legal limit for all types of pyrotechnics. These include piccolo, Pop Pop, Goodbye Philippines or Crying Bading, Yolanda or Goodbye Napoles, Watusi, pla-pla, giant kuwitis, Watusi or “dancing firecrackers”, Super Lolo, Atomic Big Trianggulo, Mother Rockets, Lolo Thunder, Pillbox, Boga, Big Judah’s Belt, Big Bawang, Kwiton, Bin Laden, Kabasi, Atomic Bomb, Five Star, Og, and Giant Whistle Bomb.
The law states that the penalty for using these illegal firecrackers ranges from six months to a year’s imprisonment or a possible fine of up to P20,000.
As of December 27, the Department of Health-National Epidemiology Center recorded 113 firecracker-related injuries nationwide, 39 of which involved children less than ten years old. Sixteen cases involved eye injuries, while six required amputation, with most caused by the piccolo.