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House approves BFP modernization Bill on Final Reading

By Filane Mikee Cervantes

MANILA – The House of Representatives on Monday approved on final reading a bill seeking to strengthen and modernize the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), which is a legislative priority of President Rodrigo Duterte.

With 223 affirmative votes, zero negative votes, and no abstention, the lower chamber passed House Bill 7406, otherwise known as the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Modernization Act.

The bill mandates the establishment and implementation of a Fire Protection Modernization Program with the following components: fire protection service, force restructuring and organizational development, capability, material, and technology development, specialized services development, and human resource development.

The fire protection service shall be established in all local government units and a single platform of emergency hotline shall be created and integrated with the 911 hotline program of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

The force restructuring and organizational development aim to develop the BFP into a compact, efficient, responsible, and modern firefighting force through a revised organizational structure and qualifications upgrading program.

The modernization program shall also include the acquisition of new and more modern equipment; establishment of specialized fire protection services for high-rise building fires, forest fires, airport fires, ship fires, chemical fires, and the like; and the continuing training of BFP personnel.

Additional functions for the BFP were listed in the proposed law, including the conduct of monthly fire prevention campaigns and information drive in all LGUs, and the issuance of a fire safety evaluation clearance as a prerequisite for the issuance of a building permit, among others. (PNA)

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