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PIA Press Release

Makati bans firecrackers in 3 barangays

Manila (9 December) -- Amid worries that firecrackers may cause fires in petroleum-plagued barangays Bangkal, Pio Del Pilar, and Magallanes, the city government of Makati has banned the sale, manufacture, storage, possession or use of all types of pyrotechnic devices and other explosive materials in the three affected areas.

City Ordinance 2010-A-020, which was approved by the City Council on Tuesday, takes effect immediately.

In an article posted on Makati's official website, Mayor Jejomar Erwin S. Binay, Jr. had urged the City Council to pass the Ordinance amidst worries that firecrackers may cause fires in the three adjacent barangays, which are traversed by the pipeline of the First Philippine Industrial Corporation (FPIC).

Petroleum from the pipeline continues to leak in the basement of West Tower condominium in Bangkal, and city officials are concerned that the contamination may have affected a larger area.

"We know that it has been a tradition to use firecrackers to celebrate the New Year and other occasions, but the lives of so many of our residents are at risk. We are imposing the ban in the interest of public safety," Binay said.

The Ordinance imposes a fine of P5,000 or six months imprisonment for violations.

If the violation is committed by a business establishment, the President or General Manager or any other person acting in behalf of either the President or General Manager shall be held liable in the case of a corporation or partnership.

In the case of single proprietorship, the Ordinance holds the owner or proprietor or the person acting in his behalf liable.

The Ordinance will remain in effect "until the until the area has been declared clear of petroleum contamination."

Among those prohibited by the Ordinance are baby rocket, bawang, small triangulo, pulling of strings, paper caps, el Diablo, watusi, Judah's belt, sky rocket (kwitis), "and other types equivalent to the foregoing in explosive content"; and pyrotechnic devices such as sparklers, luces, fountain, jumbo regular and special, mabuhay, roman candle, trompillo, airwolf, whistle, butterfly, all kinds of pyrotechnic devices (pailaw), "and other types equivalent to the foregoing devices."

In justifying the ban, the City Council cited reports that the petroleum leak, first reported in July, was not confined to the West Tower building, but has affected surrounding areas as well, particularly deep wells.

Last October, the leak was traced to the pipeline of the FPIC, which is being used by Pilipinas Shell and Chevron to transport petroleum products from Batangas to Manila.

"However, despite repairs done by the FPIC, petroleum continues to seep in the basement of West Tower Plaza Condominium and several soil tests show that many areas underneath the ground are saturated with petroleum products, thus a small spark, flash or discharge of flame within and near the said areas will cause an explosion," the Ordinance said.

The Ordinance took note of the results of vapor tests conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Center of the Department of Labor and Employment showing that vapors inside the West Tower "have a high explosive limit." (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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