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Cebu News

13 Cebu towns have no fire trucks

Kristine B. Quintas/RHM - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Fires usually occur during hot days such as now, when the country is experiencing a dry spell. But for 13 municipalities of Cebu, they are at the mercy of their neighbors in putting out fires in their jurisdictions.

The Bureau of Fire Protection-7 said that of Cebu province’s 44 municipalities and six component cities, 13 towns do not have their own firetrucks.

When fire occurs in these areas, firefighters from adjacent municipalities are the ones that respond to the fire, said BFP-7 Director Esmael Codilla.

He identified them as the towns of Alcantara, Alegria, Badian, Ronda, Asturias, Madridejos, Sta. Fe, Borbon, Catmon, Pilar, Alcoy, Santander and Tabogon. 

Codilla, though, told yesterday’s Association of Government Information Officers forum that the BFP and the Department of Interior and Local Government are currently addressing the situation.

He said the development and improvement of BFP services are already incorporated in their “2034 roadmap to modernization.”

Also, to boost the firefighting capability of local fire stations, Codilla said fees BFP collected would be utilized in the purchase of firetrucks and other firefighting equipment as well as the construction of more fire stations.

He said that of 469 firetrucks DILG procured last year, Central Visayas received in tranches since last year 17 units, seven of which were given to Cebu province, and were received by Boljoon, Samboan, Ginatilan, Cordova, and Daanbantayan towns.

The firetrucks, which cost P2.5 billion, were intended to replace the dilapidated units or those 30 years and above. A brand-new firetruck would cost between P20 million to P25 million.

Codilla said the recipient cities and municipalities were selected based on their population and frequency of fire.

BFP has already distributed 197 firetrucks in August and December last year, with the remaining 115 units set to be distributed before the kick-off of the Fire Prevention Month next month. The celebration is themed “Kaalaman at Pagtutulungan ng Sambayanan, Kaligtasan sa Sunog ay Makakamtan.”

At present, the BFP has 2,215 firetrucks nationwide serving almost 100 million people, or a ratio of firetruck to every 28,000 of the population. – (FREEMAN)

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