Negligence eyed as culprit for Guiwan fire PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 12 August 2013 11:08

Authorities are eyeing the possibility of filing charges of reckless imprudence against the owners of a commercial establishment in Guiwan where a fire originated due to firecracker and pyrotechnics explosion Friday night.

Mayor Beng Climaco, who convened a special meeting of all agencies concerned in responding and investigating the fire incident, has ordered the submission of formal reports and recommendations for possible action against those responsible for the incident.

“We want to find out the liability and prevent further violation and abuse of commerce because it has caused a lot of damage to property and God forbid, lives. We are on alert because of blasts that have happened [in other parts of Mindanao] and we do not want this to be used as a springboard to cause further alarm,” Mayor Climaco emphasized.

Initial reports from agencies concerned to include the Police Firearms and Explosives, Security Agencies and Guards Sections (FESAGS), City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) and the City Licensing and Permits Division under the Office of the Mayor showed that the said establishment –the CT Fireworks and Pyrotechnics, owned and managed by Daisy Bangayan-Aquino has an expired license from the Civil Security Group as of January 30, 2013, expired locational clearance from the CPDO as of December 31, 2012 and has no business permit from the Office of the Mayor.

FESAGS Chief Ariel Juesca said his office a month ago received reports about the establishment’s ongoing operations but when checked by posting poseur buyers no transaction happened.

Investigations showed that a huge volume of firecrackers and pyrotechnics were stored in the establishment that caused the conflagration and eventually razed to the ground the establishment and 3 other stalls.

City Administrator Antonio Orendain Jr. said under an existing executive order issued in 2012, it has been the policy of the City Government to process/ issue permits to firecracker and pyrotechnics dealers only from September to December to ensure that the establishment will not store a large volume of such devises throughout the year.

One dealer, however, who has a clearance from Camp Crame, secures a permit on a monthly basis. It is also regularly being inspected by the FESAGS team.

The same executive order, Orendain said prohibits the storage of more than 50 kilograms of firecrackers and pyrotechnics in the display store if and when a dealer is duly licensed by concerned authorities.

City Legal Officer Atty. Jesus Carbon said there are at least four executive orders issued by the City relative to firecrackers and pyrotechnics ranging from regulating the manufacture, distribution, sale and use of such devises in the city to the identification of pyrotechnics allowed and prohibited in the city, creation of the Task Force Pacific in connection with explosion at the Pacific Hardware on January 28, 2011 and the creation of a committee to check on compliance of requirements prior to issuance of zoning clearance for the sale or dealership of firecrackers in the city.

“It would seem that the city has not been remiss in looking into this problem but maybe what happened last [Friday] night could not be foreseen and could not be blamed on any of the city officials,” Atty. Carbon asserted as he stressed that his office will be ready to give legal assistance in connection with any action that may be taken by any of the concerned agencies.

Mayor Climaco said the city has to undertake a very aggressive move to prevent similar incidents in the future considering that it was the third fire incident that was caused by firecrackers/pyrotechnics explosion in the city.

“We are really pointing towards negligence,” she expressed adding that the incident Friday proved that there was huge quantity of firecrackers and pyrotechnics inside the said establishment despite the expired license and locational clearance.

The mayor was at the scene of the incident and was personally giving instructions in coordination with the concerned authorities.

The special meeting Saturday was attended by Orendain, City Police OIC Director Col. Jose Chiquito Malayo, Task Force Zamboanga Chief Col. Androlino Colina, Firearms and Explosives Security Agencies and Guards Supervision Chief Ariel Juesca, City Legal Officer Atty. Jesus Carbon, City Planning and Development Officer Engr. Rodrigo Sicat, City Engineer Luis Despalo, City Licensing officer III Corazon Cairo and several others. — Sheila Covarrubias