After his strong order to clear the Bureaus of Customs and Internal Revenue of corruption, President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday reminded the Bureau of Fire and Protection (BFP) to remove the hassles and hindrances in issuing permits and certifications, which he said are open to jobbery.
The Chief Executive issued the order to Fire Director Jose Embang Jr., even as he promised to provide the firemen with firearms to protect themselves from threats in the performance of their duties.
But before that, the President wants the BFP to further step up its anti-corruption drive by ensuring a clean conduct of fire safety inspections and the issuance of the fire safety certifications pursuant to the Ease of Doing Business Law.
Mr. Duterte made the remark after he turned over newly-acquired fire trucks to the BFP in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
The turnover was witnessed by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Felimon Santos Jr.
The President ensured the government’s full support to the bureau as he placed public safety by saving lives and protecting properties on top of its roles.
“I hope that with these fire trucks, the BFP will become more capable and effective in ensuring the safety of our communities and industries,” Mr. Duterte said.
“I am confident that with your help, we can further boost our people’s confidence in their government and create an environment where our people can live and work in peace,” he added.
The President said that the Filipino people should expect the members of the BFP to be more dedicated, efficient and reliable in the performance of its duties with the arrival of additional fire trucks and the recent increase in the salaries of uniformed personnel.
“May you be further inspired to work even harder in the building of the bedrock of a safer and more prosperous society for the present and future generations,” the President said
Among the equipment turned over were 51 fire trucks with 1,000-gallon capacity, 20 water tenders with 2,500-gallon capacity and three rescue trucks equipped with state-of-the-art tools.
The Isuzu Motors-made fire trucks, are powered by Euro IV compliant, six-cylinder turbo charged engines. The trucks also feature corrosion-resistant stainless steel tanks with much reduced weight.
The newly acquired assets include an operation manual that can be viewed beside the control panel, making it user-friendly.
The new firefighting equipment will be distributed to cities and municipalities nationwide to boost the BFP’s capability in line with its mandate.
Meanwhile, Año assured that BFP personnel will receive their firearms within the year. Nearly 30,000 firemen will get side arms “to help maintain law and order and not limit themselves to firefighting.”
According to the DILG chief, equipping BFP personnel with guns this year “is both timely and practical in the government’s drive against criminality, illegal drugs, terrorism and violent extremism.”
“Maintaining law and order is not an easy task. Despite the decreasing crime rate in the country, having the BFP’s firefighters in our peace and order campaign is a boost and welcome addition in ensuring a safe and secure country,” he stated.
The DILG has earmarked P800-P900 million for the procurement of 9mm pistols for firefighters and is already fast tracking the bidding process.
Año maintained that the BFP, along with the Philippine National Police and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, is permitted by law to assist the AFP in times of national emergency if ordered by the President under Republic Act 6975.
The firemen, Año said, will be required to undergo marksmanship training.
with Kristina Maralit