Brief History of Pyrotechnics
The word pyrotechnics refers to the art, craft and science of fireworks. It is said that the birthplace of fireworks is China. Legend has it that Chinese cook accidentally mixed 3 common ingredients: potassium nitrate, sulfur and charcoal and which he lighted the mixture, a mass of colorful flames-burst forth. The cook also noticed that if the mixture was burned when enclosed in the hollow of a bamboo stalk, there was a tremendous explosion.
From China, fireworks moved on to the West through explorers. Stories have it that Marco Polo brought this new invention to the West from one of his many trips to China.
The first application of this technology was for entertainment. Slowly the theory took root. The loud sound was perfect for chasing away evil spirit and celebrating weddings, victories in battle or competition, eclipses and religious ceremonies. Movies that need explosion and bursting also use fireworks for the effect.
History of Pyrotechnics in the Philippines
In the Philippines, the pyrotechnics industry had its roots in
Bulacan. It was Valentin Sta. Ana who first learned the craft
of making fireworks from the parish priest of
Santa Maria Town in 1867, Spanish Regime. It was said that the parish
priest used kwitis or stick rockets to wake up parishioners for
the start of Misa de Gallo Only specialists were allowed to manufacture,
use and handle fireworks, but the priest taught Valentin the basics
of fireworks making until he mastered the craft.
He passed on his skill to his children, Valerio and Fernando Sta.
Ana. In 1938, the Sta. Ana brothers opened the Santa Ana Fireworks Factory in Balasing
Santa Maria, Bulacan.
By 1941, they moved further East to Pulong Buhangin.
After the war, the company broke up, and Valerio's brother Fernando
put up his own company, Victory Fireworks, which continue to manufacture
fireworks to this day. Mr. Fernando Sta. Ana is the one considered
as the country's Father of Modern Fireworks and Pyrotechnics (1938).
Early fireworks factory owned by the Sta. Anas includes Universal
Fireworks. Their workers also learned the technology fireworks
making that gave birth to the mushrooming of factories in
Fireworks factories in Cavite and Laguna were in fact, originated
from Bulacan For some time in 1966, fireworks and its industry
were legalized in response to a tragedy that happened in Meycauayan City,
Bulacan that killed 26 people. It was in Pyrotechnic the hope
that similar tragedies might be prevented through close supervision
by the government that the industry was legalized.
In 1972 when Martial Law was enforced and fear of using the technology of fireworks in rebellious activities against Marcos government, the fireworks industry was again made illegal. The industry then thrived underground and manufacture of fireworks declined.
After seeing that Filipinos persisted in their use of fireworks for festivities and celebrations, the Republic Act 7183 - an act regulating the sale, distribution and use of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices and also known as Firecrackers Law was passed in 1992.
Bulacan is noted as a leading manufacturer of pyrotechnics in
the Philippines. It is estimated that about 500 manufacturers
are producing pyrotechnic products, particularly concentrated
in the areas of Bocaue,
and other neighboring municipalities of the province. Some of
them have already joined the Macau International Fireworks Display
Manufacturers and dealers grew rapidly in Bulacan relatively because of high profits generated. It is important to note that the number of players in the industry vary with the season that usually dictates market conditions. Demand for pyrotechnics is closely related to the general economic health of the country. On the average, May and December are peak months because of fiestas, Christmas, and New Year's Eve celebrations. It was observed that high economic growths result to higher demands for pyrotechnics during these months.
Towns that Host Most of the Pyrotechnic Enterprises
It is Santa Maria
that host most of the pyro-manufacturing factory but Bocaue became the center of trade due to its strategic location.
and Angat also host Pyrotechnic
Measures have been Taken by the Pyrotechnic Board to Address the Needs of the Industry
- Aerial Fireworks - 3 to 12 inches in diameter shells good for occasions like New Year Celebrations, Fiestas, Weddings, Anniversaries, Jamborees, Coronations, Festivals
- Bangers or firecrackers
- Fountains, lucis or pailaw
- Sky Rockets and parachutes
- Conduct of the first Pyrotechnics Technology Improvement Seminar (6 days) for Manufacturers, Dealers and Regulators. The Provincial Government of Bulacan (PGB) commissioned experts from Canada and America in June 1999 who introduced the safe technology of making fireworks. The PGB spent P869,700.00 for the speakers alone.
- Conduct of Trainings and Seminars on Proper Handling and Storage of Chemicals for manufacturers thru the Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI-DOST) and Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSCH-DOLE) Continuous trainings for manufacturers and dealers are being conducted thru the PPMDAI and PNP.
- Research and study made by the ITDI on 3 types of bangers namely judas belt, El Diablo and Small Triangulo became the basis of the PNP to amend the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 7183 regarding chemical composition. This was also adopted in the product standardization of 3 bangers.
- Passage of provincial ordinances on Policy and Standards in producing "lucis and bangers, product labeling, implementation of "no training, no license policy" and enforcement of regulation regarding the disposition of chemicals and explosive ingredients.
- Implementation of Oplan: Ingat-Paputok thru production, posting and tv plugging
- Campaign billboards
- Posters on "Do's and Don'ts in Manufacturing Fireworks" in the workplace
- Posters on Safe and Responsible Use of Fireworks
- Posters on Illegal Firecrackers
- Flyers "Ingat-Paputok, Iwas Disgrasya
- Komiks on "Mga Dapat Malaman sa Paggawa ng Paputok
- TV plug on Ingat-Paputok, Iwas Disgrasya
Creation of a Center (former BAPD) who receives and acts on complaints and requests from the industry.
Training Curriculum was already developed by the TESDA
Inspection and regulation of workplace and retail stalls
Establishment of Pyrotechnic Mini-Library
Advocacy to change the Iwas-Paputok of DOH into Ingat-Paputok
Staging of Annual "Pasiklaban" to promote the industry and tourism
Organization of cooperative of small-scale pyrotechnic manufacturers
Conduct of For a and Dialogue
Conduct of Shooters Course for Aerial Fireworks Displayers to impart knowledge and skills, safety and security in the display of fireworks.
What Brought about the Creation of the Pyrotechnics Regulatory Board?
- There were so many lives had been taken already and the Provincial Government of Bulacan don't want to risk more by not attending and giving solutions.
- There is a need to regulate and further improve the industry because fireworks has a great demand in the world market but we are behind China, the number one producer of quality fireworks, in terms of technology.
- Because of recurring problems and issues that normally surfaced during months of September to December influx of smuggled imported finished fireworks, illegal manufacturers and illegal firecrackers, extortion and accidental explosion.
- There is a need to promote the industry. It was already legalized but some government agencies are campaigning to ban the use of pyrotechnics which is detrimental to the industry.
- Many Bulakenyos are earning their living in the industry and if not attended, allied industries like chemical, paper and printing industry will also be affected.
Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association, Inc.
Address: Cagayan Valley Rd., Sta. Rita, Guiguinto, Bulacan 3015 Philippines
Mr. Celso C. Cruz (President)
Tel: +63(44) 690-2239, 690-2240, +63(917) 624-4834
Bulacan Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Ground Floor, Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center
Provincial Capitol Compound.
Malolos City, Bulacan, Philippines 3000
Ms. Mara T. Bautista (Executive Director)
Tel No. +63(44) 662-1180
Telefax: +63(44) 791-2574