President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Thursday vowed to upgrade the capability of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) by purchasing more fire trucks and providing training to fire personnel.
“I assure you that this administration will continue to pursue programs and other initiatives that will enhance your professional and operational capabilities,” President Duterte said during the BFP’s 28th founding anniversary held at the Philippine International Convention Center.
“Magbili ako ng maraming truck. At saka sinasabi ko sa COA [Commission on Audit], hindi ako magbili ng lowest bid. Bahala na kung magka-korte tayo… ‘yang lowest bid mo, dalawang andar lang ‘yan.”
At the same time, the President called on the personnel of the BFP to forge more productive and collaborative partnerships with local government units (LGUs).
Fire personnel must be on good terms with the local governments considering the civilian nature of the bureau, he noted.
Appreciating fire personnel’s steadfast commitment to duty even if they have to risk their lives, he said they truly inspire all of those in the field of public service.
“I hope that this important milestone will encourage you to further promote excellence, solidarity, and professionalism within your organization so you may achieve more things in the coming years,” he said.
Maintaining peace and order
President Duterte also told the BFP personnel that he is mulling arming them to help the police and the military maintain law and order.
The President runs on the platform of ensuring peace and order—fighting crime and corruption as well as eliminating illegal drugs.
“You know, you have to help in the law and order. You are not limited to just fire,” he said. “You have to go around and help the policeman and the military. Isang senyas lang naman kayo, magkaalaman na kayo eh.”
The BFP should assist in ensuring security because the military and the police cannot cover all the areas in the country, according to the President.
He raised the issue of security Thursday after hearing reports of violence in some parts of the country. In Negros, the President said killings have gone unabated.
“At lahat ng halos na barangay captain nasa atin…‘yun ‘yung legal natin eh, namamatay,” he said. “So itong NPA…nagwa-warning ako. This cannot go on. So sabi ko sa inyo, pa-issue-han ko man kayo ng baril…kayong mga bumbero.”
The BFP has contributed in saving lives and properties by preventing and suppressing destructive fires. The bureau also quickly responds to both man-made and natural disasters all over the country.
The country’s cities already have fire stations, while 80 percent of almost 1,500 municipalities nationwide have established their own fire stations. Also, 1,489 municipalities in the Philippines have already modernized their firefighting capabilities and only 305 municipalities need upgrades.
The number of fire incidents went down from 19,000 in 2016 to just 16,000 in 2018, according to government figures.
BFP’s long-term vision is to attain fire-safe nation by 2034 by having a modern fire service. PND