BARUG Team Rama councilors plan to pass legislation requesting the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to audit and inspect old buildings in Cebu City with outdated and busted fire prevention systems.
In a press conference yesterday, the councilors agreed that there is a need for legislative intervention especially with the recent fire that gutted the Metro Department Store at the Ayala mall.
Councilor Eduardo Rama said the city and the BFP should discuss the matter during an executive session of the City Council.
“Most probably, some of their fire prevention systems are faulty. BFP should focus on that more or at least check if their system is working,” he said.
He said the local government unit (LGU) and business owners must be proactive in addressing the matter.
Although expensive, he said the BFP should also be provided with equipment and gear necessary for responding to fires.
On this point Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña and the opposition councilors agree. Osmeña had earlier said the city would purchase breathing apparatus and install oxygen refilling devises for the oxygen tanks used by firefighters.
Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera said existing laws must be strictly implemented.
With high-rise buildings sprouting in the city, Pesquera said it is high time that the BFP also upgrade their facilities.
“Mao na gyud ni ang trend nga magkataas ang building kay magkamahal man ang yuta. Aside from that, there are no available parcels of land anymore,” she said.
She added that business establishments must also protect not only their property but also the lives of the people in their building.
The Team Rama block did not agree with Osmeña’s plan to the construction of high-rise buildings.
Councilor Joel Garganera said he hopes the mayor will change his mind, saying the city has “very passionate” fire responders who only lack equipment. He said the city must extend assistance to the firemen.
“Nanghinaot ko sa Sinulog, malamdagan ang huna-huna sa mayor. Let this Sinulog pass and probably malamdagan siya sa Balaang Santo Niño,” he said.