P500-million fireworks industry to stay in business

Published by rudy Date posted on December 17, 2010

BOCAUE, Bulacan – The P500-million domestic fireworks industry continues to thrive and withstand the impact of smuggling and competition from foreign brands that aggravated a decline in sales since 2000.

Local manufacturers here and in other towns of Bulacan claimed that Filipino craftsmanship and ability to adapt to changing trends keep the industry alive.

“We are here to stay and we will not just fade, not now, not in the near future,” said Celso Cruz, president emeritus of the Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association Inc. (PPMDAI).

He said Filipinos continue to patronize locally made fireworks because these still amaze the younger generation despite the new products in the local market, particularly the cheaper smuggled items.

“Smuggled pyrotechnics products are part of the increasing globalization, other countries like China are persistent in flooding the local market and some businessmen are unscrupulous enough to take advantage of the situation,” he said, noting that smuggled fireworks have affected sales since 2000.

The problem is real, said Arcadio Sta. Ana, a veteran pyrotechnics manufacturer and grandson of Valentin Sta. Ana, who is credited with starting the commercial pyrotechnics industry in the country after developing a process to mix black powder from Spanish friars based in Sta. Maria, Bulacan in the late 1800s.

Both Cruz and Sta. Ana expressed hope in the growing ingenuity and ability to adapt of Filipinos in the local pyrotechnics industry.

Sta. Ana cited Platinum Fireworks based in Sta. Maria, owned and operated by his nephew Joel, which bagged second runner-up honors in the 22nd Macau International Fireworks Display Contest last October.

The award is the second in as many years for Platinum Fireworks, which has been joining the Macau competition since 1996. However, at that time Joel entered their mother company Six J Fireworks.

The elder Sta. Ana said that his nephew’s victory is notable in the sense that Platinum Fireworks competed with countries that use modern technology in making and executing fireworks displays like the United Kingdom, Taiwan, Australia, Portugal, Korea, Japan, France, Italy and China.

Other winners in the five-day international fireworks display competition were Tamaya Kitahara Fireworks Co. from Japan which netted the top prize; Panda Fireworks Group Co. from China, first runner-up.

This was the second time for Platinum Fireworks to win since it started participating in 1996 in the Macau event, considered one of the world’s most prestigious fireworks competitions.

Platinum Fireworks outclassed other strong teams and titleholders like La Tirrena S.A.S. Fireworks from Italy, Pyro 2000 from the United Kingdom and Wan Dar Fireworks Manufacturing Co. from Taiwan.

Cruz said that aside from Platinum Fireworks, Cebu-based Pyroworks of Brian Lim is also a leading player and is listed in the Guinness Book of Record for most fireworks rockets launched in less than a minute. –Dino Balabo (The Philippine Star)

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