OPLAN “Ingat Paputok” intensified

With the onset of the Yuletide season, Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo on Tuesday directed the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to intensify inspection on establishments engaged in the manufacture, storage, and sale of fireworks.

In compliance with Secretary Robredo’s directive, the fire bureau in Region 03 formally launched the Task Force “Ingat Paputok” today, December 7, 2011.

The task force, which is headed by BFP Region 3 Director C/Supt. Ariel A. Barayuga with Deputy Chief for Operations S/Supt. Absalon L Zipagan, S/Insp.Jaime D. Robles including Provincial Fire Marshals, shall inspect pyrotechnic factories and shops selling firecrackers, particularly in Bulacan, to ensure that fire safety standards are implemented.

In his report to Robredo, Barayuga said the task force shall ensure that fire safety provisions under the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9514, otherwise known as the Revised Fire Code of the Philippines of 2008, are strictly enforced and followed.

Barayuga also said that in case firecrackers and pyrotechnics on sale are fire hazards and excessive in volume, they will advise the stall or shop owners to reduce its quantity.

Aside from these, the task force shall oversee proper use of fire extinguishers or water and/or sand for fire suppression; ensure the strict observance and posting of the “NO SMOKING” signage in communities; prohibit the use of open flames like cooking, gas lamp, and other combustible materials; ban the sale of firecrackers and pyrotechnics to children; require establishments to post a “NOT FOR SALE TO CHILDREN” signage; and identify manufacturing establishments located within 300 meters of residential zones and report it to the PNP and LGU concerned.

Likewise Barayuga said the BFP in the region will conduct simultaneous fire truck motorcade along major roads and public assembly in the region which will signal the start of the Oplan “Ingat paputok”.

Meanwhile, Robredo said the BFP shall check if compliance with documentary requirements like Fire Safety Inspection Certificate (FSIC) and Business Permit are met. He said that in case an establishment or activity poses a threat to fire safety, the provisions of RA 9514 shall apply aside from other laws, rules and regulations of other agencies.

Robredo added that a follow-up inspection in firecracker establishments and manufacturing companies should be conducted to determine their compliance with government requirement..

He also asked the BFP to coordinate with other agencies to minimize, if not totally eliminate, the dangers posed by firework materials.

“This is part of our effort to ensure a fire-free Christmas and New Year celebration nationwide. We do not want to experience the tragic fire incidents that occurred in Turo, Bocaue, Bulacan last Jan. 1, 2008 which destroyed 13 retailer store selling firecrackers, and that of a factory in Cavite in 2009 leaving at least eight people dead and wounding 70 others,” Robredo said.

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