BFP notes increase in Fire Code revenue collection
by Jean Duron-Abangan
Tagum City (23 March) -- The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) provincial office of Davao del Norte has noted an increase in the collection of Fire Code taxes, fees, and charges now that the new Fire Code is in full effect.
In a press conference advocating Fire Prevention Month, provincial fire marshal Superintendent Wilberto Rico Neil Kwan Tiu revealed that the Fire Code tax collections of his office reached P3.4 million from January to February this year, way above the P1.9 million collections in the same period last year.
Kwan Tiu, however, brushed aside credits given to local fire bureaus which are now handling the collection of fire code fees, a function previously done by local government units.
He said he could not attribute the pittance fire revenue in previous years to the local government units way of collecting it.
He explained that local fire bureaus are just following the memorandum circular of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) which issued it on December 29, 2009 after the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 9514 or The Fire Code of the Philippines 2008, was published putting the law into effect.
Memorandum Circular 2009-188 signed by DILG Secretary Ronaldo V. Puno explained that the new Fire Code "embodies the latest standards in fire safety and incorporates all the necessary provisions that were not in the old Fire Code, to include the new developments in technology and to make the fire safety measures attuned to the growing requirements of public safety."
Puno said that the new Fire Code provides a source of funds for the modernization of BFP and allots 20 percent share of Fire Code revenues to local government units "exclusively for operation and maintenance of their local fire stations including construction and repair."
Under the new Fire Code, BFP is mandated to assess and collect Fire Code taxes, fees and charges as revenues through its city or municipal fire offices.
In areas where there are no BFP local offices, the BFP regional directors shall designate the nearest city or municipal fire office to assess and collect Fire Code revenues, upon the recommendation of the provincial fire marshal.
In Davao del Norte, BFP is designating fire coordinators to Talaingod, San Isidro, and Braulio E. Dujali, Kwan Tiu said.
BFP has started collecting Fire Code revenues since January 1, 2010 based on the DILG issue memorandum circular which also makes it clear that LGUs will also get its 20 percent share, starting on the same date.
Kwan Tiu admitted that some were a bit confused in some LGUs which had yet to exclude Fire Code fees from their list of charges to be paid in filing for renewal of business permits.
He attributed this to the short notice given to LGUs regarding the effectivity of the new Fire Code. (PIA XI) [top]