Bicol BFP lacks firefighters, low fuel budget

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Sorsogon City fire officers battles spread of blaze to nearby structures together with fire volunteers. PHOTO BY ANGEL AYALA/BicolToday.com
Sorsogon City fire officers battles spread of blaze to nearby structures together with fire volunteers. BICOLTODAY.COM FILE PHOTO 

LEGAZPI CITY, 11July2013 (PNA) – The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)-Bicol would be helpless in responding should a major fire take place due to low fuel allocation, an official disclosed.

Fire Inspector Maria Simona Cemitara, BFP-Bicol administrative chief, said the BFP is saddled with operational problems concerning funding, personnel and firefighting equipment.

Cemitara told in a media interfacing at Camp Gen. Simeon Ola, the headquarters of the Philippine National Police Bicol regional office, on Tuesday that the bureau is allowed a monthly fuel allocation of only 20 liters for every fire truck it has. The current fuel allocation is only half of what was previously given, which was 50 liters per month, to every BFP station.

Cemitara said this was mandated by a recent Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) memorandum to cut BFP’s fuel allocation due to budgetary constraints. The BFP is under the DILG.

“With the meager fuel allocation, it would be difficult for fire trucks to respond in case there is fire in a far-flung place,” the lady fire official claimed.

With the current fuel allocation, she said, firefighters and fire assets may not be able to respond immediately if a fire breaks out and reaches the fourth and fifth alarms.

A fire that reaches fourth and fifth alarms requires fire stations in various towns and cities to assist each other in controlling and putting it out.

She said there are only 57 operational fire trucks distributed among the cities and towns in the six provinces of Bicol.

The BFP needs a total of 115 fire trucks to cope with the 1:28,000 population ratio and 89 firefighting assets are still needed, she said.

Fire stations in Bicol, including the regional and provincial offices, are manned by 1,051 personnel.

The BFP needs 1,804 personnel to cope with the ideal population ratio of 1:2000.

Bicol has a population of 5.7 million at present.

“The BFP has proposed in its Agency Investment Plan in 2013 the creation of 1,500 new personnel items for Bicol but only 16 new positions were approved and allocated,” Cemitara said. (PNA)

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