MANILA, Philippines – A total of 645 towns nationwide don’t have fire stations. Others have fire stations but don’t have fire trucks, or vice versa. Many firefighters don’t have helmets and other equipment.
Yet the law calls for “at least 1 fire station with adequate personnel, firefighting facilities and equipment in every provincial capital, city and municipality.”
This is far from reality, though this has been the Bureau of Fire Protection’s (BFP) long battlecry. It seems to get attention only in March, the Fire Prevention Month.
BFP statistics show that about 800 to 900 fire incidents occur every month.
In attempts to address the problem, lawmakers are seeking new congressional probes on the lack of fire stations and firefighting equipment.
Cagayan De Oro Rep Rufus Rodriguez Abanate Mindanao Rep Maximo Rodriguez have filed House Resolution 2250 asking the House committee on public order and safety to look into why hundreds of towns nationwide still don’t have fire stations.
In February, Bayan Muna Party-list Rep Teddy Casiño filed House Resolution 2104 seeking to investigate the supposedly “dubious” termination of a P243-M government contract to purchase firefighting equipment. Casiño accused the BFP of favoring its regular suppliers.
The House plenary has referred Casiño’s resolution to the House committee on good government.
Aside from the 645 towns without fire stations, the resolution also noted that 666 other towns are using dilapidated trucks.
According to BFP spokesperson Honey Fritz Alagano, there are municipalities that have fire stations but no fire trucks. Others have fire trucks, but no fire stations.
“In these cases, the fire trucks are housed in some portions of the municipality,” Alagano said.
As a stop-gap measure, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has assigned several cities and municipalities to act as “Central Fire Stations.” They are responsible for quick responses in areas without fire stations. – Rappler.com