BFP under fire for failure to modernize despite funding
MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) has been rebuked by a senator for its failure to modernize the country’s fire protection program despite the availability of P2.08 billion in state funds that remained idle over the past three years.
Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said the head of the BFP must have been sleeping on the job due to his abject failure to put to good use the allocations, depriving the public of the much-sought protection against the calamitous effects of fires.
Pimentel also did not discount the possibility that favored contractors must have become obstacles to the BFP’s modernization program after a series of public biddings for the procurement of fire trucks, supplies and related equipment ended in law suits and counter-suits.
He then enjoined the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to immediately finish its review of the documents pertaining to the procurement of fire trucks and other equipment so that the public would not be deprived of the benefits of the modernization program.
“More than the unquantifiable sum of money, crops and properties lost to fires every year since 2010 when the BFP mothballed its fire modernization program are the precious lives of innocent victims that could have been saved from raging infernos,” the senator said in a statement on Thursday.
He said modern fire-fighting equipment were now needed by firemen who usually risk life and limbs in trying to put out a conflagration with the use of obsolete and at times non-serviceable fire trucks and equipment, resulting in calamitous consequences.
Pimentel urged the DILG to also regularly check the operations of its municipal fire stations in the country’s 1,500 towns and those in the urban areas in the more than 100 cities nationwide “so that the only line of defense of the people against fires in the countryside are always ready at all times.”
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