Cebu News

Tobias in, Hadjula out at BFP-7 headquarters

May B. Miasco/JMD - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines- Superintendent Erlinda Tobias has replaced regional director Senior Superintendent Maria Luisa Hadjula as officer-in-charge of the Bureau of Fire Protection in Central Visayas.

Speaking before regional fire marshals at the flag-raising ceremony yesterday morning, the newly appointed chief has asked for the full support of BFP officials and personnel in her campaign against fire incidence.

“I have the purest of intentions in serving the people of Central Visayas and I am now ready to meet all the challenges that come our way… Can I expect your 100 percent support from you?” Tobias said.

Tobias admitted she was at first hesitant to accept the position as she might be separated from her family in Laguna province, where she was previously seated as the provincial fire marshal.

“Having received my order as BFP-7’s assistant regional director (she can’t take up the position of regional director yet pending the processing of her requirements), I was hesitant at first to accept the post. As you all know I am miles away from my family. But as a good soldier, I must follow legal orders from the BFP hierarchy,” said Tobias, who is the second female to be appointed head of BFP-7.

Although she does not find language as a barrier to excellent delivery of services, she said she is open to learning the Cebuano language to better communicate with her people.

“But I know you will fully agree with me that one doesn’t need to be a Visayan native to be a good leader. It is the character that matters. Leadership descends from character,” she said.

In her speech, Tobias uttered in Cebuano her appeal for full cooperation from the local firefighters.

“Ipasalig nako kaninyong tanan nga ako pang mapalambo ang BFP-7 pinaagi sa akong kakugi ug dedikasyon sa trabaho apan mahimo nako ang tanan kun anaa kamo magpaluyo kanako,” she said.

On March 6, Tobias received a department order signed by lawyer Peter Irving Corvera designating her as the OIC of BFP in Central Visayas.

Also on the same date, the turnover of command took place at the BFP-7 office in Cebu City as witnessed by Chief Superintendent Rodrigo Abrazaldo, deputy chief for administration at the BFP national headquarters.

Tobias graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering at FEATI University of Metro Manila in 1982 and passed the board examinations in 1984.

She then took her master’s degree in management at the Philippine Christian University and graduated in 2004. The year after, she rendered her service as budget officer at the BFP regional office of Mimaropa region for two years.

In 2006, she was assigned at the BFP headquarters in Calabarzon Region for six years. Subsequently, she was transferred to the BFP office in Laguna as the provincial fire marshal, before given the directorial post.

“Generally, my plans for BFP-7, considering that it is already established, include improving it, more especially on training the abilities of my personnel. I would be requesting for more funds from the higher headquarters for equipment, for the immediate repairs of fire trucks and for the fire stations,” Tobias said. (FREEMAN)


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