BFP disagrees with setting minimum quota of 20% for annual female recruitment
MANILA, Philippines — Saying the job requires heavy upper body strength, Bureau of Fire Protection chief Louie Puracan disagreed with the proposed hiring annual quota of female firefighters on Wednesday.
During the House Committee on Public Safety and Order hearing, Puracan also said setting a minimum quota of 20 percent for annual female recruitment, as proposed by House Bill 5740, may cause issues.
Puranan, citing a 1999 study by Ian Janssen et al. published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, pointed out that, on average, women have 40 percent less upper-body skeletal muscle than men.
“Firefighters’ upper body is massively used to perform their task,” Puranan said in his opening speech. “The physical aspect of firefighters’ job requires lifting, carrying heavy equipment, climbing huge ladders and buildings, and working night shift.”
Despite this, Puranan pointed out that there is no gender discrimination in the BFP, saying that the country almost has seven times more female firefighters than the United States.
“Our goal is to be more efficient. There is no discrimination of women deployment in the BFP,” he said.
Citing the latest available data, Puranan said women firefighters in the BFP are at 27.56 percent, for a total of 9,390 out of 34,059 members of the bureau’s uniformed personnel.
“The 27.56 percentage of the women firefighters in our country is extremely high compared to employment of firefighters in other countries,” he said. “In the United States, only 3.7 [percent] of firefighters are female.”
“The data shows that the BFP does not discriminate … There is gender equality and employment exercised in the bureau.”
Puranan said that the bureau could not compromise its duty just to comply with “high demands of gender equality.”
“In conclusion, the BFP cannot compromise its duty written in the mandates of the law only to comply with the high demands of gender equality.
“Thus, we support the intent of House Bill 5740 to promote equality and opportunities among men and women, recognizing the role of women in nation-building and the promotion of social justice.
“However, we disagree with the setting of a minimum quota of 20 percent for annual female recruitment and allowing said quota beyond the set number should there be more qualified woman applicants in the BFP,” he continued.