CALOOCAN CITY, March 9 (PIA) -- The Senate on Monday approved on final reading a bill seeking to modernize and strengthen the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) by providing modern firefighting tools and life-saving equipment, additional personnel and relevant training of personnel.
With 23 affirmative votes, no negative votes and no abstention, the Senate passed Senate Bill No. (SBN) 1832, or the BFP Modernization Act, aimed at helping the BFP pursue its mandate of 'promoting public safety by saving lives and protecting property in times of emergencies'.
Senator Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs and sponsor of the measure, said the proposed bill will ensure that the BFP will be well-quipped and sufficiently manned to suppress fire and respond to calamities.
"We will not allow the BFP to prevent and suppress destructive fires alone. Sa tulong ng Senate Bill No. 1832, masisiguro natin na magkakaroon ng sapat na fire officers, fire trucks, personal protective equipment at ibang equipment na kailangan para maapula ang mga nakamamatay na sunog. Bukod pa rito, mas magagampanan ng BFP ang kanilang tungkuling bilang "first responder" sa mga sakuna, aksidente at iba pang emergency," Dela Rosa said.
"Bukod pa rito, mas magagampanan ng BFP ang kanilang tungkuling bilang "first responder" sa mga sakuna, aksidente at iba pang emergency," Dela Rosa said, emphasizing that with the help of SBN 1832, the government can ensure that the Philippines will have enough fire officers, fire trucks, personal protective equipment and other equipment needed to suppress deadly fires. Also, it will allow BFP to effectively perform their duty as first responder during accidents and other emergencies.
SBN 1832 expanded the BFP's functions to include prevention and suppression of fire in all buildings, houses, and other structures located inside economic zones, agro-industrial economic zones, free ports, and special economic zones, Information Technology (IT) parks/centers, tourism economic zones, and other similar entities. Added to the agency's functions is its duty to respond to natural and man-made disasters and assist in rescue and emergency medical services provided that the BFP would coordinate and cooperate with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and Local Government Units.
The modernization program shall consist of components, such as fire protection service, force restructuring and organizational development, capability, material, and technology development, specialized services development, and human resource development.
"Muli po, sa tulong ng Kongreso, maisasakatuparan na ang ating pangarap na lahat ng bayan sa buong Pilipinas ay magkakaroon na ng sariling firetruck at fire station; wala na sana tayong makikitang bomberong kulang sa protective equipment habang lumalaban sa nakamamatay na sunog; wala na sana tayong mababalitaang namatay dahil walang nagresponde na ambulansya sa mga sakuna," Dela Rosa said.
He assured the public that the higher chamber will ensure proper funding for the modernization of the BFP.
"Ang pagpapasa po ng panukalang batas na ito ay unang hakbang sa patuloy na pagmomodernisa ng BFP. Makaka-asa po ang ating mga kababayan na ating babantayan at titiyakin na magiging maayos ang pagpapatupad batas na ito. We will also ensure that our annual national budget will include sufficient funds for the programmed projects of the BFP for their modernization program," the Mindanaoan senator said.
SBN 1832 is a substitute bill authored by Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III, Senators Christopher Lawrence Go, Ramon Bong Revilla Jr, and Dela Rosa and co-authored by Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel "Migz" F. Zubiri, Senators Sonny Angara, Pia Cayetano, Win Gatchalian, Richard Gordon, Imee Marcos, Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao, Grace Poe, Francis "Tol" Tolentino, Joel Villanueva, and Cynthia Villar. (PIA NCR)