MANILA - Southeast Asia's largest pyrotechnics manufacturer that is based in the Philippines is looking to export to the US and Europe to make up for a downtrend caused by smuggling and misconception's about the government's firecracker ban, an official said Wednesday.
Dragon Fireworks cut its workforce by 40 percent last year to help recoup losses. This year, an estimated 200 container vans of illegal firecrackers were smuggled into the country, said the company's managing director, Joven Ong.
"We're in the tedious process of getting permits to be able to export to the US and Europe," Ong said.
The smuggled firecrackers include piccolo, which authorities had blamed for injuries involving children.
"Smuggled firecrackers are killing the industry both ways. It is competing with legitimate sellers and are causing most of the injuries that prompt government action," Ong said.
Ong said some of the imported fireworks were marked as made in the Philippines to make it appear that they were manufactured in Bulacan.
President Rodrigo Duterte's Executive Order 28 that bans the use of firecrackers also dampened sales due to "misunderstood" provisions, Ong said.
Dragon Fireworks is open to the idea of publicly listing the brand as soon as it "doubles or triples its size" in the future, he said.