Modernization plan seen to boost performance of BFP

Maris Federez   •   July 28, 2020   •   169

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) on Tuesday, July 28, said it is looking forward to the planned modernization of the agency as mentioned by President Rodrigo Duterte in his 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.

In a phone interview, BFP Director Jose Embang, Jr admitted that the agency is now being left behind as compared with the other fire departments in other countries.

Embang said that what they need to be on par with other countries in meeting and maintaining international standards is additional personnel, as well as equipment, training, and salary increase.

He said what the President mentioned in his SONA will be a great help to the agency.

“Ngayon lang nagkaroon, nabanggit ng isang Pangulo na dalawang beses ang modernization ng Bureau of Fire since last year, nabanggit n’ya na ‘yan, tapos ngayong nabanggit na naman n’ya. Given by the fact siguro na s’ya ay naging mayor sa Davao ng ilang dekada at nakita n’ya ang importance ng isang fire department sa isang bayan,” Embang said.

He added that the agency has only around 29,000 personnel nationwide and what they need is double that number.

He said that to be able to recruit the additional 30,000 personnel, they have to offer a more competitive salary.

He explained that more than being firefighters, the BFP is also among the first to respond to rescue operations during disasters and emergencies.

“Ini-ensure n’ya na ang lahat ng tao na nakatira sa mga establishment ay safe from destructive fires, isa lang ‘yun, prevention,” he said.

The BFP is also a support group to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police in national emergencies and in fighting terrorism.

“Sini-secure n’ya ‘yung mga taong affected ng isang emergency bago ‘yung investigation, bago dumating ‘yung iba-ibang mga unit,” Embang said.

To perform these things, Embang said, the BFP would need equipment such as additional fire trucks, ladders, platforms, ambulances, rescue trucks, and hazardous materials trucks.

“Importanteng-importante po ‘yang hazardous materials truck, kasi ‘yan po ‘yung nagre responde sa mga chemical spill, sa mga bio kagaya ng COVID, sa mga radiological incident, ‘yan po ‘yung hazardous materials na tinatawag,” the BFP official further explained.

The agency is also planning to procure choppers to be used in transporting victims from high-rise buildings or forest fires, as well as rescue boats, and drones. — (from the report of Lea Ylagan) /mbmf

OFW groups satisfied with President’s SONA

Maris Federez   •   July 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Several groups of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) have expressed their gratitude to President Rodrigo Duterte on his State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Around 300 Filipinos representing several groups of OFWs from different countries met online and simultaneously watched the President’s SONA.

They said the chief executive did not let them down as he urged Congress “to pass a law establishing the Department of Overseas Filipino solely on addressing the concerns of Filipinos abroad and their families.”

Last March, the lower House passed the creation of the Department of Filipino Overseas and Foreign Deployment. The Senate, on the other hand, is still hearing the bill.

In his SONA, the President reiterated his commitment of support to OFWs.

He called on the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and other agencies to allocate trainings and programs for OFWs.

With this, the United Filipino Global International thanked the president for his concern over them.

“The SONA speech of the president, I think we are very happy kasi alam naman po namin ang kaniyang intention. Ang kaniyang speech ay para talaga tumulong nang totoo na walang halong pamumulitiko,” said Gemma Sotto, chairperson of United Filipino Global International. — (from the report of Asher Cadapan, Jr.) /mbmf

PISTON, muling umapela sa LTFRB na payagang pumasada ang traditional jeepneys

Robie de Guzman   •   July 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Nagsagawa ng kilos-protesta ngayong Lunes, Hulyo 27 ang ilang miyembro ng transport group na Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (PISTON) upang muling manawagan sa pamahalaan na payagan nang magbalik-pasada ang mas marami pang jeepney units sa gitna ng community quarantine.

Sakay ng mga lumang jeep, maagang nag-piket ang grupo sa harap ng tanggapan ng Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

Idinadaing nila ang ilang buwan nang pagkakatigil sa pamamasada na nagtulak na umano sa ilan nilang kasamahan na mamalimos sa lansangan upang matustusan ang pangangailangan ng kanilang pamilya.

Marami din umano sa kanilang mga tsuper ang hindi nakatanggap ng ayuda mula sa pamahalaan.

“Kasi ang hinaing po namin na pinabalik po yung maiksi na ruta yung 49 na ruta bakit kami hindi kasama na simula noong nag lockdown Marso a-15 hanggang ngayon wala po kaming hanapbuhay namamalimos po kami sa lansangan para mabuhay ko lang pamilya ko,” ang sabi ni Cerilo Latoreno, miyembro ng PISTON.

Naniniwala ang grupo na kung papayagan ang pagpasada ng traditional jeepneys ay maiibsan ang hirap ng mga pasahero sa gitna ng limitadong ruta at bilang ng mga sasakyang pinayagang bumiyahe sa Metro Manila at kalapit-lugar.

“Hindi lang para magkaroon ng kabuhayan ang ating mga kasamahan kundi para magkaroon din ng service o may masakyan ang ating mga kababayan na hirap na hirap na sa paglalakad kasi putol putol ang ruta may mga ruta na talagang mga jeepney lang ang nagsi-service,” ani R Steve Ranjo, ang secretary general ng PISTON.

Apela rin ng grupo,  sana ay huwag tuluyang i-phase out ang mga lumang modelo ng pampasaherong jeep kaugnay ng proyektong jeepney modernization ng Department of Transportation (DOTr).

Pakiusap nila, bigyan pa sila ng panahon upang makasunod sa programang modernisasyon sa sektor ng transportasyon.

Umaasa ang grupo na mabibigyang-katugunan ang kanilang mga hinaing at mababanggit ito ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte sa kanyang State of the Nation Address (SONA) ngayong araw.

Matapos ang programa ay umalis din naman ang PISTON sa harap ng LTFRB upang magtungo sa University of the Philippines Diliman Campus upang doon ituloy ang protesta.

Una nang sinabi ng lokal na pamahalaan ng Quezon City na bawal ang anumang uri ng mass gathering sa gitna ng pandemya batay sa panuntunan ng national task force kontra COVID-19. Gayunman, maaaring magdaos ng protesta sa UP Diliman campus ang mga nais maglabas ng hinaing kaugnay ng SONA.

Sinabi rin ng pambansang pulisya na “maximum tolerance” ang kanilang paiiralin ngunit hindi sila magdadalawang-isip na arestuhin at kasuhan ang sinumang hindi makikinig sa paalala at lalabag sa health protocols kontra coronavirus disease. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Dante Amento)

Less drama at Duterte’s 5th SONA — Bernal

Marje Pelayo   •   July 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives (HOR) is working double-time to complete the last-minute preparations for the fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte. 

But unlike the fourth SONA, some major changes can be expected on that special day of the President, given that the country is experiencing a pandemic. 

Last year’s SONA was a deviation from previous SONAs based on its theme and cinematic treatment initiated by award-winning director Joyce Bernal who was personally picked by the President himself. 

But with the new normal forced by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the plan is to use less camera work because only a few individuals may be allowed to enter the Batasang Pambansa.

Bernal said they have prepared a number of pre-recorded materials for the event which include the singing of the national anthem and some of the supporting materials for the President’s speech.

Also, the facility for the video conferencing of members of the Congress, agency heads and other government officials has already been set up.

Kapag meron kaming mga malalaking equipment na ganun kailangan ng tao so bawas tao talaga,” Bernal said. 

“Siguro iyong mga shots namin, dadaanin na lang sa bilis pero naka-planta na talaga kasi wala na rin yung lakad,” she added.

On Monday (July 27), the Batasan premises will undergo disinfection.

In adherence to strict health protocols, markings will be installed to guide the attendees in observing proper physical distance and body temperature of all persons coming in will be checked.

On Sunday, all persons authorized to physically attend the SONA will have to take the swab test just to ensure that they are COVID-19- free.

Security measures, as always, will be tight and no private media outlet will be allowed inside the venue. 

Expected highlights of Duterte’s fifth SONA will be the administration’s programs for the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic. MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

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