Press Release
December 9, 2007

Villar laments toy gun incident involving a 4-year-old in Laoag

Senate President Manny Villar today reiterated his appeal for the trade department and the police to intensify its effort to restrict the availability of almost real life toy guns in the market today due to security and safety concerns.

Villar issued this statement after learning of an incident in Laoag where a 4-year-old boy suffered second-degree burns while playing with a toy gun.

"These toys pose serious threat on our children and to the general public as they go about their daily routine. Now we see in the news why government action is warranted," Villar said.

A TV report said the boy was immediately rushed to the hospital and surgery is needed in his face. The doctor still has to determine whether or not the injury could affect the child's left eye. The toy gun is a 'de sabog,' which can be used with gunpowder and is popular in Laoag City. Villar noted with dismay the pronouncement of the police saying they cannot confiscate the toy guns in absence of a directive from higher authorities.

"I reiterate my appeal to the Department of Trade and Industry and the Philippine National Police to act on this matter the soonest before more children start getting hurt," he said.

Villar earlier raised the alarm on the use of toy guns, which easily pass as real guns, to perpetrate crimes especially with the onset of the Christmas season.

Villar noted that police records show that toy guns, which are exact replica of real guns, are being used by some individuals to commit crimes such as hold-ups, kidnappings, among others. He filed Proposed Senate Resolution No. 221 urging the Committees on Public Order and Illegal Drugs and Trade and Commerce to conduct an inquiry on the proliferation of almost real life toy guns, substandard products and other substantially imminent injurious goods that endanger the lives and security of people.

"This incident involving a 4-year-old boy also stresses the need for legislation on the proper labeling of toys. The warning labels are needed to prevent toys from harming the children," Villar said.

Villar filed Senate Bill 84, which mandates the fastening of "easy-to-read cautionary warnings on toys and their packaging" in Filipino.

He said "toy safety labeling" has become "a universal practice" which must likewise be enforced in the country through legislation. Under the bill, toys that do not carry safety labels will be pulled out of store shelves and "banned for hazardous substances."

Villar said toy makers should also indicate in the product information if any of the materials used in manufacturing the toy is "toxic, corrosive, irritant, flammable, or combustible."

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