Alarmed by the unchecked sale of plastic balisongs and other toy weapons with sharp edges and points, the EcoWaste Coalition is urging local government units (LGUs) to enact necessary ordinances to protect young children from harm.
“We appeal to our LGUs to adopt and enforce ordinances that will prohibit the distribution, sale and possession of children’s toys imitating dangerous weapons, particularly balisongs, knives and similar weapons with sharp edges and points,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Playing with these imitation toy weapons may result in accidental cuts, lacerations and even eye injuries requiring emergency medical attention,” she added. “Our local lawmakers need to act proactively to ensure that our children do not suffer from these avoidable injuries.”
To prevent such injuries, the group asked local authorities to follow the example of Makati City and enact a similar ordinance banning and penalizing the distribution, sale and possession of such toys.
Makati City Ordinance No. 2017-113 enacted by the City Council on November 8, 2017 expanded the list of prohibited items under City Ordinance No. 97-131 “to include plastic knives, balisongs, knuckles and other similar objects, which appear to be toys, but pose danger to people.”
“It is alarming that unscrupulous store owners are giving children access to these potentially harmful, even lethal, toy items. Urgent measures must be taken to stop the endangerment of the young and vulnerable and prevent lawless elements from using these ‘toys’ to victimize Makatizens,” said Mayor Abby Binay as reported in the Facebook page of Makati City.
Mayor Binay, as stated in the said Facebook post, “noted that access to such toys can also promote a culture of violence among the youth.”
In accordance with the said ordinance, possession of the prohibited items shall be penalized as follows: fine of P1,000 for the first offense, P2,000 for the second offense, and a P3,000-fine or imprisonment not exceeding one month, or both at the discretion of the court for the third and succeeding offense.
If the possessor, seller or distributor of the prohibited items is a minor, the provisions of Republic Act 9344, or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, and other related laws shall be applied,
Mayor Binay pushed for the enactment of the said ordinance following reports of minors using plastic knives and knuckles during petty brawls or in harassing others. There were also reports alleging sale of these items to kids at some sari-sari stores near schools.
During the latest toy test buys conducted by the EcoWaste Coalition, the group managed to buy assorted balisongs, knives and other weapons with sharp edges and points from toy wholesalers in Binondo, Manila, as well as from toy stores operating in the vicinity of some schools.