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MANILA, Philippines - At least 645 towns do not have fire stations, while 666 others make do with old and dilapidated fire trucks, two lawmakers said. The number of towns account for almost 87 percent of the country’s 1,512 municipalities.
"This could be the reason why there are around 800 to 900 fire incidents every month as per records of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)," Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez and his brother Maximo, who represents the Anak Mindanao party-list, said as they urged Congress to look into the matter.
The Rodriguez brothers released their findings and filed House Resolution 2250 asking the committee on public order and safety to investigate why the towns lack the fire stations just as March, which is Fire Prevention Month, wound down.
“Fire incidents cause the loss of lives and properties, which could be prevented if our fire fighters have the proper equipment,” Rufus Rodriguez said.
“Our fire fighters also have to make do with old and unreliable safety equipment which put their lives at an even greater risk and also put the lives of the victims in greater danger,” he added.
In the resolution, the lawmakers also called on the Department of Interior and Local Government to activate central fire stations to address the needs of municipalities, especially those without fire stations of their own, under a unified command system.
As envisioned by the DILG, central fire stations are the city or municipal fire stations most accessible to those without fire stations of their own.
The central fire stations are meant to coordinate with local government officials and be responsible for quick response to fire prevention, investigation and provision of emergency and rescue services.
Rodriguez likewise urged the DILG to fast track its plan to purchase new fire trucks and other necessary supplies and distribute these to different cities and municipalities.
DILG is reportedly planning to purchase 170 fire trucks.