MANILA, Philippines – The Senate has approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to strengthen the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) by providing modern firefighting tools and life-saving equipment, additional personnel, and relevant training of personnel.
Voting 23-0, the Senate passed on Monday Senate Bill No. (SBN) 1832 or the BFP Modernization Act, which aims to help the BFP pursue its mandate of promoting public safety by saving lives and protecting property in times of emergencies.
Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, who chairs of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs and sponsor of the measure, said that the proposed measure will ensure that the BFP will be well-quipped and sufficiently manned to suppress fire incidents and respond to calamities.
“With the help of SBN 1832, we can ensure that we 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 responders during accidents and other emergencies,” Dela Rosa said in a statement.
The bill expanded 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.
“Again, with the help of Congress, our dream to have firetrucks and fire stations in every municipality could be achieved; hopefully, we can see firefighters with protective equipment while suppressing deadly fires; no more stories of fatalities due to lack of ambulances during accidents and emergencies,” Dela Rosa said.
Dela Rosa assured the public that the higher chamber will appropriate proper funding for the modernization of the BFP.
“The passage of this bill is the first step towards the modernization of the BFP. Rest assured that we will see to it that this law will be implemented properly,” he said.
“We will also ensure that our annual national budget will include sufficient funds for the programmed projects of the BFP for their modernization program,” he added.