The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) on Wednesday said it needs an additional 30,000 firefighters to enhance its capability to save lives and property.
In a phone interview, BFP Director Jose Embang Jr. expressed hope that President Rodrigo Duterte’s commitment to modernizing the agency in his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) will help beef up its ranks, which is currently composed of only 29,000 personnel.
“Ngayon lang nabanggit ng Pangulo ang modernization ng BFP (This is the only time the President mentioned the modernization of the BFP) since last year… given by the fact siguro na siya ay naging mayor sa Davao ng ilang dekada at nakita niya ang importance ng isang fire department sa isang bayan (probably because he was former Davao City Mayor for decades and he saw the importance of a fire department to a nation),” Embang said.
Aside from additional manpower, he said the BFP needs additional equipment such are fire trucks, ladders, platforms, ambulances, rescue trucks, and hazardous material trucks along with choppers, fire rescue boats, and drones.
Embang said the President’s commitment will help the agency effectively carry out its mandate as he admitted that it is lagging behind its counterparts in other countries.
Aside from putting out fires, BFP personnel are also involved in rescue operations in disasters, inspection, prevention and serve as first responders in emergencies.
Embang added that the BFP supports the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in national emergencies and anti-terror activities.
The BFP is an attached agency of the Department of the Interior and Local Government. (PNA)