OpinYon Laguna


Feb 12, 2024, 3:08 AM
Miguel Raymundo

Miguel Raymundo


Authorities are investigating the fire and explosion in Cabuyao City, Laguna that killed six people, and many Lagunenses are concerned that other potential ticking “time bombs” may be operating outside the boundaries of the law in the province.

Why have local government units in Laguna province allowed the proliferation of unregulated (and possibly unlicensed) fireworks factories inside residential areas?

That was the serious question raised by concerned citizens following a recent incident in Cabuyao City, Laguna last February 2 that killed six people.

As the smoke settles down and authorities begin their own investigation into the fire and explosion, many Lagunenses are now concerned that other potential ticking “time bombs” may be operating outside the boundaries of the law in the province.


At around 3:30 p.m. on February 2, residents of Barangay Bigaa were rocked by an explosion inside the Diamond Fireworks factory.

The Cabuyao Component City Police Station, Cabuyao City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Cabuyao immediately responded to the fire which was declared out shortly before 6:00 p.m.

Two bodies were recovered at the site following the incident, while according to Aristotle Mane of the Cabuyao City Information Office (CIO), four more persons – including a minor – died while being treated in various hospitals.

Almost all of the victims received 95- to 98-percent burns in their bodies, the information officer told OpinYon Laguna.

Safety lapses

As the incident happened near a residential area, Mane added that barangay officials have already coordinated with residents concerning damage to their properties.

The force of the blast has allegedly shattered windows in the houses surrounding the factory, he added, while witnesses told media that the ground “shook” due to the powerful explosion.

Local authorities are also now looking into the possibility that lapses in safety measures may have occurred inside the factory, Mane told OpinYon Laguna.

This, after preliminary investigation, based on CCTV footage and survivors' testimonies, revealed that someone (allegedly a minor) was smoking near the site a few minutes before the incident occurred – a major red flag especially in a factory dealing with flammable substances.

As of press time, authorities have yet to confirm whether the alleged smoker was one of the victims of the blast and whether it has any connection with the incident.

"Mayroon din po kasing construction area malapit sa site, so hindi rin po alam ng testigo kung ito po ba ay empleyado [ng pabrika] o construction worker," Mane reported.

Residential area?

While Mane told OpinYon Laguna that the factory had all the necessary permits and that a recent “surprise inspection” had shown no prior safety violations, the prime question residents now ask is why a factory dealing with such hazardous material was allowed to operate in a residential area in the first place.

According to Mane, the place where the factory was situated was a “farmland” which allowed for enough space away from houses and commercial establishments to cause damage in case of a serious incident.

Somewhere along the line, however, rapid urbanization has caught up as former farmlands in the coastal areas of Cabuyao and Calamba cities were converted into residential subdivisions.

“Kung titingnan po natin yung ground zero, kung saan nandoon po yung facilities, part po iyon ng bukid so nasa loob siya. Ngayon, lumalabas na parang malapit na po siya sa residential area since part po ng kabukiran ay natayuan rin po ng mga bahay,” Mane pointed out.

Not the first time

What's more alarming is that, according to authorities, this was not the first time such an incident occurred in the same factory.

According to a GMA News report, the same fireworks factory in Barangay Bigaa had also been the subject of fire incidents in the past, but no casualties were reported. (This time, apparently, the workers met bad luck.)

And take note that this is also not the first time such an incident has happened in Laguna province.

On November 18, 2022, a similar fire inside an allegedly unlicensed fireworks factory in Barangay Canlubang, Calamba City claimed the lives of five people and injured two more.

The illegal fireworks factory was also situated inside a residential area, according to authorities.

On February 7, Cabuyao City Mayor Dennis Hain decided to suspend the operations of all fireworks factories in the city for at least 30 days, citing "an imperative need" for an immediate measure to prevent similar incidents and to ensure the safety of the fireworks manufacturing industry in the city.

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