Press Release
February 28, 2008


In observance of the Fire Prevention Awareness Month, Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. called on the national government to cut local government units' remittances to the national treasury to intensify the fire safety programs all over the country.

The senator filed a bill that seeks to retain one-fourth of the fire code tax collections of all LGUs to upgrade its own fire prevention efforts.

Revilla stressed that full financial, equipment and personnel support by the government as well as by the private sector is necessary to effectively implement all efforts to minimize the occurrence of fires and their destructive effects.

"In order to effect a meaningful reduction of the alarming fire losses, there is a need to develop national consciousness and involvement of all persons in its prevention and suppression of fires. Consistent with the policy of the state to ensure the autonomy of local governments, we must empower these LGUs to prepare plans and programs on fire safety, prevention, suppression and evaluation," he said.

He cited records from the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) which revealed that for 2006, a total of 8,823 fires were recorded nationwide or an average of 24 reported incidents daily.

Based on the report, the National Capital Region topped the list with the most number of fire occurrences at 3,665, Region 4-A ranked second at 1,238, followed by Region 6 at 803. The total amount of damages recorded at P3,203,838,834 and resulted to 867 casualties, both firefighters and civilians.

The lawmaker also pointed out that there are 28 accredited fire volunteers in the country and this is not sufficient to augment the fire rescue and response campaign of the BFR. "We must aid the LGUs in their quest for the immediate implementation of their fire prevention and suppression programs. We could provide them the necessary fund through the twenty-five percent retention scheme that I am proposing," Revilla said.

Under Senate Bill 1954, Section 14 of Presidential Decree No. 1185, otherwise known as the Fire Code of the Philippines, shall be amended so that the twenty-five percent of all taxes, fees and fines collected by the city or municipal treasurer relating to fire safety will be retained and the only remaining seventy-five percent will be remitted to the national treasury.

Twenty-five percent of all such collections retained by the city or municipal government concerned shall be used for operation and maintenance of its local fire station, including the construction and repair of fire station, purchase of fire trucks, fire fighting equipment and other devices.

Revilla further explained that even the leadership of the DILG asserted that there is an urgent need to modernize the BFP in the face of the new security environment with threats and actual cases of bombings and arson from terrorist groups. The BFP is under the DILG.

The DILG also reported that of the 1,494 municipalities nationwide, only 827 have fire protection capability. The BFP has an existing fleet of 1,629 firetrucks of which 1,272 are operational while the remaining 357 are either under repair or beyond economic repair.

"There should be an augmentation of fund for the BFP not only for the purchasing and upgrading of equipment but also for additional manpower. This would increase our chances of preventing or reducing the loss of lives and damage of properties due to fire," Revilla added.

News Latest News Feed