Press Release
August 5, 2021

Senate ratifies bicam report on BFP modernization bill principally authored by Bong Go

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go thanked his colleagues for their support for Senate Bill No. 1832 which mandates the Bureau of Fire Protection to develop and implement a fire protection modernization program, and its House counterpart, House Bill No. 7406.

Go praised Senator and Chair of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs Ronald dela Rosa for sponsoring the measure, as well as other senators who supported the ratification of the bicameral conference committee report during the Senate session on Wednesday, August 4.

"As the principal author of the bill, I just want to thank our colleagues for supporting the BFP Modernization Bill. This is one of the priority bills I filed in my first month as Senator," said Go.

"I laud my fellow Davaoeño, Senator Bato dela Rosa, for prioritizing this vital measure to help our countrymen," he added.

Go expressed his concern for the plight of Filipinos who have been displaced by fires and explained that the government must pursue and invest further in the fire bureau's modernization and capacity enhancement efforts.

"Importante po na mabigyan ng suporta ang modernization ng ating Bureau of Fire Protection dahil napaka-importante ng tungkulin na ginagampanan nila upang makapagligtas ng buhay," said Go.

"Halos linggo-linggo po akong bumababa sa mga nasusunugan. Nakikita ko po ang hirap ng ating mga kababayang nasunugan. Kahit isang bahay lang po ang masunog, damay po pati ang kapitbahay. Maraming pamilya ang apektado. Kaya po dapat lang na palakasin ang kapasidad ng BFP sa pagresponde sa sunog," he added.

Senate Bill No. 1832 mandates the BFP to develop and implement a fire protection modernization program. This will include the acquisition of modern fire equipment, the expansion of the BFP's manpower, and the provision of specialized training for firefighters, among others.

The BFP shall also be mandated to conduct monthly fire prevention campaigns and information drives in every local government unit.

Meanwhile, the Senator has also expressed his admiration for firefighters who put their lives at risk to respond to save lives during fires and natural calamities.

"Bilib po ako sa ating mga bumbero dahil kahit hindi sunog, kasama sila sa mga unang sumusuong sa panganib at rumeresponde tuwing may sakuna at kalamidad. Maituturing po natin sila na first responders dahil parte sila ng ating emergency response," said Go.

He said that providing them with modern equipment would be a great help to them. "Kahit mayroong pandemya patuloy pa rin namang nangyayari ang mga sunog at iba pang aksidente o sakuna," he pointed out.

"Kaya nga po habang binabalangkas pa natin ang batas na ito, isinulong ko na po last year ang additional budget na 1.7 billion pesos para sa BFP para sa firefighting and rescue equipment ng BFP para sa taong ito," he added.

This bill will allow BFP to ensure the hiring of more personnel, acquisition of modern fire equipment, and conduct of trainings for firefighters of the BFP, according to Go.

"The bill will also empower local communities in preventing fire incidents by mandating the BFP to conduct monthly fire prevention campaigns and information drives in all LGUs," he ended.

The ratification of the initial bicameral committee report was previously rejected in the Senate due to concerns of some Senators on certain provisions that aim to arm firefighters. The bicam committee was reconvened again after that to address the contentious issues which led to the latest version of the measure that was finally ratified by the Senate.

Among the contentious provisions discussed thoroughly in the Senate is the provision creating the Security and Protection Unit. Under the said provision, the BFP Modernization Program shall establish specialized fire protection services in every region and city which includes a Security and Protection Unit (SPU).

Every SPU shall be composed of not more than fourteen (14) personnel comprised of two (2) team leaders with the rank of at least Fire Inspector and team members, who shall undergo a neuropsychological examination and periodic trainings. The SPU shall be provided with appropriate equipment to protect firefighters during fire suppression, containment of HAZMAT and CBRNE materials, fire investigation, and in the performance of all other acts pertinent to their mandate.

In defending the provision, Dela Rosa cited the concerns of local governments and the BFP that firefighters often face threats on the ground especially during volatile environments when they respond to fire incidents. Hence, the provision aims to create the SPU so that firefighters can protect themselves from such threats.

Go, for his part, advocated for the approval of this provision in line with President Rodrigo Duterte's desire to maximize the role of firefighters and their capability to also help maintain peace and order within the performance of their duties.

"Security has been a serious concern of the BFP on the ground especially in volatile environments. They can only effectively suppress fires and save lives if peace and order is in place and they are also protected from unruly elements," Go explained.

"That is why it would be best if they have their own Security and Protection Unit. Aside from capacitating our firefighters, we are also promoting their safety and welfare," Go added.

Moreover, Go stated that firefighters are capable of handling such situations given their training so a special unit to ensure their safety and protection is an essential part of enhancing the capabilities of the BFP.

"Iyong ibang mga BFP officers ay PNPA graduates naman sila. May alam sila kung paano ma-ensure ang peace and order. Para ito sa proteksyon ng kanilang mga kahanay. Para ito sa proteksyon ng ating BFP personnel na sumusuong sa emergency situations," Go said.

News Latest News Feed