Republic Act No. 11589 “An Act Strengthening and Modernizing the Bureau of Fire Protection and Appropriating Funds mandates the BFP to develop and implement a fire protection modernization program. Senator Christopher Bong Go is the principal author and co-sponsor of Senate Bill No. 1832 on which the law was based.
R.A. 11589 BFP Modernization Law
BFP Modernization Law is seen to expand the powers and functions of the bureau – including establishing regional fire laboratories, research and testing facilities, and acquiring modern fire equipment. The BFP shall also be mandated to conduct monthly fire prevention campaigns and information drives in every local government unit.
Modernization Program of the BFP includes:
- Acquisition of modern Fire Fighting Equipments- which means Additional Fire Trucks, etc etc;
- Expansion of BFP’s Manpower – which means more hiring and additional personnel in the Bureau;
- Provision of Specialized Training for Firefighters – which means we are going to multi-skilled
- Expansion of BFP’s Function – which means more visible Firefighter in all types of Emergencies [relating to item #2].
- The law also provides that Firefighters will be carrying Fire Arms as well but with guidelines. -Source (Sto Tomas City Fire Station PIO)
Moreover, the Bureau Of Fire Protection will establish a new specialized unit -the Security and Protection Unit (SPU), which will be the armed unit of the BFP separate from the currently existing Special Rescue Unit. Members of this unit would be given the privilege to carry a gun.
According to President Rodrigo Duterte, “In the mind of some, bakit mo bigyan ng baril ang mga bumbero eh sunog lang ang kalaban niyan? (In the mind of some, why are you giving firefighters guns when they are fighting fires?), You know, the organization itself and the individual bumbero they are exposed to a fraught of so many dangers.”
Some victims of fires would threaten firemen and insist that their areas would be prioritized, said Duterte. Aside from that they would also be confident in doing their jobs having to carry firearms.
“Iyong iba pinuputol — sa galit, pinuputol ‘yung hose. So there are so many challenges in the work of a bumbero in the day of his life na kailangan mo protektahan, We thought of just arming them also. Tutal gobyerno ‘toh and they can be called upon during emergencies to contribute to the law and order of the place, but they have to have something,” he said.
He stated further, “I am therefore confident that the passage of the [BFP] Modernization Act will help boost the morale, efficiency, responsiveness, and professionalism of the BFP in realizing their mandate.”