Bulacan pyrotechnics industry bleeding

Published by rudy Date posted on December 31, 2008

MALOLOS CITY – Bulacan pyrotechnics manufacturers are counting on the law of economics to level the playing field for the local pyrotechnics industry against smuggled fireworks.

They blame smuggled fireworks from China for bleeding suffered by the local industry for years, but expressed hope that it won’t be for long.

“The biggest advantage today of China is its cheap labor, but it will soon have the same costs as ours because it has opened its doors to capitalism,” said Celso Cruz, chairman of the Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association Inc. (PPMDAI).

He predicted that in five to 10 years, the local pyrotechnics industry will again be competitive.

Cruz cited the skills and technological improvement adopted by local manufacturers as they aimed for the professionalization of local pyrotechnicians.

“We have started skills assessment that will match available technologies in the manufacture of pyrotechnics,” he said.

With regard to injuries related to the use of pyrotechnics, Cruz said that users must also be responsible in handling these products.

He said that manufacturers are always blamed for injuries, but users must also be aware of their responsibilities,

a sentiment echoed by PPMDAI president Vimmie Erese and other local manufacturers.

She reminded buyers to always look for quality products, and not settle for those produced by illegal manufacturers.

She said that as the leading organization in the industry, the PPMDAI has been conducting training all year round and certificates obtained through these trainings are one of the requirements in securing a license to manufacture.

“We want everybody in the industry to be aware of safety in the manufacture of pyrotechnics so that their products will be safer, but sad to say, there are many who go underground,” Erese said.

“It may take years, but we will just keep on with our advocacy,” Erese said.

Prices doubled

Prices of pyrotechnics products have nearly doubled, but buyers continue to flock to trading centers in the province two days before the New Year.

Roads leading to Barangay Turo here, including the North Luzon Expressway exit, as well roads that lead to Barangay Sto. Niño in Baliuag town have been clogged since Monday.

Local retailers said that they are running out of stock due to a late surge in customers buying pyrotechnic products.

“It’s always like this,” said a retailer at Turo, not far from the NLEX Bocaue interchange.

Erese told The STAR in a telephone interview that the increase in prices of pyrotechnic products was due to low production output this year.

She said that many licensed manufacturers stopped their operation this year due to high costs of raw materials.

“It all boils down to the capability of the manufacturers. Many closed shop this year, about 50 percent,” she said.

Erese said that some manufacturers took a gamble this year and borrowed money.

“Many are deep in debt. I hope they can recover in time for next year,” she said, noting that raw materials rose from P300 to almost P5,000 per container this year.

As this developed, the PPMDAI reminded buyers to patronize labeled pyrotechnics products, saying these are safer.

They said that pyrotechnics related-injuries are usually caused by unlabeled products manufactured illegally in clandestine factories and backyards.–Dino Balabo, Philippine Star

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