DILG wants firearms for firefighters issued this year
Robie de Guzman • February 13, 2020 • 1242
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is looking to arm 29,286 firefighters of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) this year in line with the government’s drive against illegal drugs, criminality, 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,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement issued Wednesday.
The DILG chief said firemen will be armed with 9MM pistols to strengthen the government’s law enforcement campaign, and also for self-defense purposes as fire victims, out of frustration, sometimes gang up on fire personnel during firefighting operations.
“May mga pagkakataon na sa kagustuhan ng mga tao na unahing isalba ang kanilang nasusunog na bahay, kinukuyog nila ang mga bombero at nagkakagulo. Nais din naman nating protektahan at sundin ng mga tao ang ating mga bombero habang ginagawa nila ang kanilang trabaho,” he added.
Año believes the move is “timely and critical,” and in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive of engaging BFP’s help to maintain law and order and not to limit their roles to firefighting.
He also said that the BFP, along with the Philippine National Police and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, is permitted by law to assist government troops in times of national emergency if ordered by the president under the Republic Act 6975.
“The BFP also does law enforcement functions because they enforce the Fire Code so they already have some experience in this regard. The BFP can help ensure public safety, as a support to the PNP and AFP but of course, their primary responsibility is still preventing and suppressing fire and enforcement of the Fire Code,” he said.
Año revealed that the BFP has already requested funds from the Department of Budget and Management for the procurement of the firearms.
He also assured that firemen would undergo marksmanship and gun safety training before they will be issued their firearms.
“Hindi rin naman natin basta-basta aarmasan sila ng walang tamang training,” he said.
For his part, newly-appointed BFP Director Jose Segundo Embang said he welcomes the move to arm BFP personnel, adding that this is a necessary upgrade in terms of responsibilities and skills “to cope with the demands of the times.”
“Hindi na ito yong conditional firefighters na nakikita natin before. Ito na iyong mga modern heroes, kung makikita ninyo sa mga disasters. Hindi lang sa mga natural disasters but even during man-made disasters, kasi sila talaga ang first responders, sila ang cornerstone of emergency preparedness and response,” Embang said.
“Ngayon ay makakasama na kami sa pagpapanatili ng public safety,” he added.
MANILA, Philippines – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año on Tuesday said that police and local government executives should not interfere with community pantries and other similar initiatives organized by private groups.
Año issued the statement following reports that some of the community pantry organizers were being red-tagged and profiled by alleged government authorities.
The DILG chief said police and local government interference should only be limited to ensuring that health protocols are being implemented.
“Since this is a purely voluntary and private initiative, we should not interfere except to ensure that minimum health standards are complied with,” Año said.
“Hence, organizers must adhere to existing laws and local ordinances especially those issued to prevent the spread of Covid-19,” he added.
Año also clarified that he did not order the Philippine National Police (PNP) to look into the community pantries around the country.
“The community pantry has been a traditional practice in our country as part of Bayanihan culture and spirit specially in the times of calamities and disasters,” he said.
“In the spirit of Bayanihan, many Filipinos have been doing selfless acts of kindness since last year.
As long as the intention is good and without political color, it should be encouraged and supported,” he added.
As to the issue of whether organizers are required to secure barangay permits, the DILG chief said that organizers should “consult with the concerned barangays if such is required.”
“The PNP and/or local officials may just come in if there is any violation of law, if there are complaints from the community, or if the organizers seek their help,” he said.
“The LGUs, barangays and the PNP are ready to provide utmost assistance to ensure orderly distribution to the public,” he added.
MANILA, Philippines – Secretary Eduardo Año of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is returning to work on Friday (April 16) after more than three months of hospital care.
In a statement, Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the DILG chief already received clearance from his doctors, though it will be on a work-from-home setup until he is fully recovered.
“After more than three months of grueling struggle, including a heart operation, the Secretary is well, in high spirits, and ready to reassume his duties in the Department as well as in the National Task Force COVID-19 and in the IATF-EID,” Malaya said.
“He will start by first working from home and eventually to full normal routine,” he noted.
Malaya expressed gratitude to the public for respecting the DILG Chief’s privacy in the past few months and “for giving him the time to rest, recuperate, and fully recover.’
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte directed the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to continue monitoring and investigating reported complaints regarding the distribution of government assistance to families heavily affected by the enforcement of enhanced community quarantine in the NCR Plus.
Duterte issued the directive after the DILG officer in charge Undersecretary Bernardo Florece Jr. told the president that they have not received any complaints about the aid disbursement in the National Capital Region (NCR), Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.
During his pre-recorded national address with some members of the Cabinet on Monday night, Duterte said he has seen media reports about beneficiaries complaining about difficulty in claiming government subsidy.
“Maraming nagreklamo na ano, so ask your field offices to try to make rounds and investigate if these allegations are true,” he said.
“Sabi mo nga as of now malinis, then I’ll take it, but with another caveat that continue to monitor through your field offices… I do not have any reason to doubt the mayors, lalo na yung malalaki,” he added.
Florece, in turn, assured the president that all DILG senior officials are doing the rounds inspecting and monitoring the aid disbursement of local government units.
Around 22.9 million beneficiaries from low-income households in the NCR Plus are expected to benefit from the government’s assistance program which was allocated with a P22.9 billion fund.
The one-time aid program covers areas that have been placed under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) period from March 29 to April 1.
The NCR Plus was reverted back to MECQ starting April 12 to April 30.
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