Press Release
August 4, 2021

Bicameral Conference Committee Report

BFP Modernization Act
August 4, 2021

Good afternoon, Mr. President and colleagues.

I have the honor of submitting for ratification the Bicameral Conference Committee Report on the Disagreeing Provisions of Senate Bill No. 1832 and House Bill No. 7406 also known as the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Modernization Act.

I am happy to report to this august body that in today's Bicameral Conference Committee Meeting, all the Senate conferees were present and actively participated in our pursuit of the best reconciled version of the BFP Modernization Bill.

At the outset, the body adopted the provisions and title of the bill which were approved during the first Bicameral Conference Committee meeting last May 24, 2021 except for Section 4(d) of the conference committee report which includes the establishment of the Security and Protection Unit or SPU.

As the Chairman of the Senate panel, I manifested during the bicam meeting the sentiment and concerns raised by the members of the Senate during the first attempt to ratify the reconciled bill on the establishment of BFP Security and Protection Unit. However, the House conferees still insisted with their proposal to establish the BFP Security and Protection Unit or SPU.

The Bicameral Conference Committee had a lengthy and extensive discussion regarding the creation and the composition of the Security and Protection Unit.

Armed with the guidance from our Senate Majority Floor Leader, Senator Miguel Zubiri, the Senate panel thru Senator Tolentino proposed an amendment to the proposal of the House conferees. We included in the bill the specific number of BFP personnel for SPU in order to limit the authority of the BFP on the issuance of firearms. With this amendment, the Senate panel thru Senator Hontiveros further amended the provision to ensure that those who will be appointed in the SPU will be well trained to handle firearms. As such, all SPU members shall be required to undergo neuropsychological examination before their appointment to the unit as well as periodic trainings.

After the comprehensive deliberation, the bicameral committee approved the final reconciled bill that will guarantee not only the modernization of our country's firefighting authority but also the welfare of every Filipino.

Mr. President, I would like to thank Senators Tolentino and Gatchalian for sharing their learnings as former local chief executives, and for Senator Go for his experience in his involvement in extending assistance to fire-hit communities. Also, for the invaluable intervention of Senator Hontiveros in ensuring that members of the SPU will be subject to strict qualifications and in highlighting the importance of neuropsychological examination as a requirement.

Mr. President, allow me also to thank the co-authors and co-sponsors of this bill: Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III; Senate Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Majority Leader Miguel Zubiri, Senator Christopher

Lawrence Go, Senator Bong Revilla, Senator Pia Cayetano, Senator Francis Tolentino, Senator Sonny Angara, Senator Richard Gordon, Senator Grace Poe, Senator Manny Pacquiao, Senator Joel Villanueva, Senator Imee Marcos, Senator Cynthia Villan and Senator Win Gatchalian; and to all my colleagues who have helped us to further improve this landmark measure.

Mr. President, this proposed measure has nothing but good intentions, for our firefigthers and for the Filipino people.

With the permission of the Body, I move that the Joint Explanatory Statement on the Disagreeing Provisions of Senate Bill No. 1832 and House Bill No. 7406 be read in toto into the Record and that the Bicameral Conference Committee report be ratified.

Maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat.

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