Tolentino backs BFP modernization

The Philippine Star
Tolentino backs BFP modernization
The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) officially begins the celebration of Fire Prevention Month with a grand parade at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila on March 1, 2024.
Ryan Baldemor / The Philippine STAR

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Francis Tolentino has expressed support for the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)’s request to acquire modern equipment and increase its personnel.

The BFP should also organize its auxiliary brigade from the professional sector to serve as force multipliers with rank incentives to their names and encourage more participation in firefighting and fire prevention, he said.

“I am very active on the matter of modernization of the BFP and support it for the government to better protect its citizens from fire incidents that bring untold sufferings to the victims,” Tolentino said over the weekend.

Tolentino recalled the Feb. 29 fire that destroyed the houses of 189 families in Tondo, Manila.

Fire incidents grew to 16,493 in 2023 from 13,000 in 2022, a surge of more than 25 percent, according to BFP chief Louie Purucan.

With the onset of El Niño, Purucan expects fire incidents to further increase this year.

Fires in buildings and residential areas are mostly caused by defective electrical wiring, from loose connections to overloading, and using live flames for cooking, he noted.

Early this year, burning cigarette butts ranked first in causing fire incidents from fourth last year, which can be attributed to El Niño as it turns grass and shrubs tinder-dry, he added.

Purucan said it would be more effective to fight fire incidents with more equipment.

“Out of 1,485 municipalities all over the country, there are still 123 municipalities without fire trucks and stations. The number of fire trucks of the bureau is close to 3,000 while the volunteer fire brigades have 1,300 fire trucks,” he said.

There would ideally be one firefighter for a population of 2,000 but the BFP only has one firefighter for a population of 36,000, he added.

The Philippines, with a population of 120 million, should have 60,000 firefighters, he said. There are currently 36,000 firefighters, or some 24,000 firefighters short of meeting the ideal ratio.

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