Pyrotechnics industry suffers another slump in sales

Published by rudy Date posted on January 3, 2010

MALOLOS CITY, Philippines – The country’s pyrotechnics industry suffered a further slump in sales of firecrackers this New Year.

Firecracker manufacturers blamed the scare tactics of the government and its failure to fully implement the law that prohibits the sale of oversized and illegal pyrotechnics.

Pyrotechnics manufacturers called on the government to strictly implement the law, while dealers vowed to get back at officials and campaign against them this coming election.

Tony Dinglasan, a member of the Board of the Bocaue Fireworks Dealers Association (Bofida), claimed they suffered a 40-percent drop in sales.

“Our sales turned negligible for this year. Some of us just managed to break even,” Dinglasan said, adding that many of them even dropped their prices by half on New Year’s Eve just to sell their stocks.

Dinglasan said their rich customers still bought the same amount of firecrackers as in previous years, but they only comprise 20 percent of total customers.

“More than 80 percent of our customers are the poor people and they buy only small amounts of firecrackers,” he said.

Dinglasan added the floods brought by storms “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” in September and October left many of them in financial ruin.

Dinglasan also admitted the prevailing economic slump affected sales.

“The economic crisis is a big factor. Many of our usual customers have chosen not to buy anymore. Besides, the scare campaign of the Department of Health also affected our sales,” he said.

He said the group had vowed to get even with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and campaign against him in the May elections.

Celso Cruz, chairman of the Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association Inc. (PPMDAI), said Duque’s “Iwas Paputok” campaign is counter-productive and outright illegal.

Cruz said Republic Act 7183, or the law that regulates manufacture, distribution and sales of pyrotechnic products and devices, is clear that there are only certain products that are illegal and the use of pyrotechnic products is legal.

Cruz insisted that it is incumbent upon the government to regulate the industry, but not to ban the use of firecrackers outright since it will kill the whole industry.

Cruz also blamed the weak implementation of RA 7183.

He said fatal accidents like the ones that happened in Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Cebu, and General Santos City could have been avoided if only local officials, including the police, knew how to implement the law.

“They don’t know what they are doing,” Cruz said. –Dino Balabo (The Philippine Star)

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