Modernization of BFP urged
by Jemin B. Guillermo
Roxas City (19 February) -- Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno has asked the President to certify as priority bills, two House Bills and two Senate Bills that aim to modernize the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).
Puno sought President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's approval to certify as priority bills House Bill No. 383, otherwise known as an Act Providing for the Modernization of Fire Protection and for Other Purposes; Senate Bill No. 1909, An Act Providing for the Modernization of Fire Protection; House Bill No. 276, An Act Amending PD No. 1185 Otherwise Known as the Fire Code of the Philippines Providing for Effective Implementation Thereof and For Other Purposes; and Senate Bill No. 1477, An Act Amending PD No. 1185 Otherwise Known as the Fire Code of the Philippines and for Other Purposes.
Puno pointed out to "an urgent need to modernize the Bureau of Fire Protection as a matter of national interest."
He noted that of the 1,494 municipalities nationwide, only 827 have protection capability.
The BFP, he said, needs a minimum of 667 units of fire trucks to comply with its mandate of establishing at least one fire station in each local government unit nationwide.
It has an existing fleet of 1,629 fire trucks of which 1,272 are operational while the remaining 357 are either under repair or beyond economic repair, Puno said.
Roxas City BFP Officer-In-Charge Naciancino Barroa disclosed that Capiz has only 15 units of fire trucks.
Barroa said that of said number, the Bureau here owned only 4 units, while the rest are owned by some local government units and volunteer groups.
The Capiz BFP has only 117 organic personnel with some manpower, he said, adding that there is a big disparity of firefighters against the population in the province.
Meanwhile, Puno disclosed that the Bureau has a total manpower complement of 16,227 uniformed, non-uniformed and civilian personnel and requires a total of 29,220 firefighters for its mission-critical function of fire suppression, EMS and rescue, safety enforcement and investigation and intelligence.
Puno added that the amendment of the Fire Code of the Philippines will help institute measures that will strengthen the accountability of the public officers entrusted to implement the Fire Code by imposing stricter administrative and criminal penalties for their negligence, malfeasance or misfeasance to their duties which result to or fail to prevent loss of life and damage to property. (PIA) [top]