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Congressman Rama files bill requiring fire extinguishers in residential buildings

By: Wenilyn B. Sabalo - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | November 30,2022 - 03:55 PM

Cebu City Second District Rep. Eduardo “Edu” Rama Jr./ CDN Digital File Photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Representative Eduardo “Edu” Rama Jr. of the Second District of Cebu City has proposed a measure requiring owners of residential buildings or structures to have fire extinguishers as a measure to prevent major fires in the country.

Rama filed his House Bill 6200 or “An Act Requiring Owners of Residential Building or Structures to Maintain Portable Fire Extinguishers” last November 16, 2022.

Rama, in a statement, said he saw the need to do so as fires in the country, according to the Bureau of Fire Protection, are usually  in residential areas.

According to Rama, the BFP has recorded a total of 11,383 fire incidents nationwide from January to November 23, 2022. Of the said number, 5,170 are single and two-family dwelling occupants.

The top causes of fire incidents in the country include electrical ignition caused by arching, electrical ignition caused by a loose connection, and smoking/lighted cigarettes.

BFP also recorded a total of P4.4-billion worth of damage to property in relation to these fire incidents.

Under this bill, every owner of any residential building or structure shall maintain portable fire extinguishers commensurate with the number of occupants and the frequency of occupancy, use, equipment contained in the residential building, and the hazard classification of the area, regardless of its equipped fixed fire protection system and equipment.

“Residential fires, which rank as the sixth leading cause of unintentional injury-related death in the Philippines, are mostly caused by faulty electrical wiring or connections, unsupervised open flames, and neglected electrical equipment or gadgets,” Rama said in his explanatory note.

The Congressman further explained that portable fire extinguishers are easy to use and require minimal training and orientation to operate.

“Installing and maintaining one at home may be helpful in abating and suppressing fire incidents as it would put out small fires before they get out of control this would prevent injury, death and damage to property.” he said.

Rama also stressed that residential fires often occur in densely populated areas where occupants are less likely to maintain portable fire extinguishers.

With this legislative measure, low-income households shall receive subsidies or support from their respective local government units and the national government in purchasing the required portable fire extinguishers.

“The city or municipal planning and development officer (C/MPDO) shall assess the poverty threshold and identify the income classes in the local government unit concerned. The results of the assessment and classification, upon validation by the Philippine Statistics Authority, shall serve as a reference for the subsidy or support,” read section 3 of HB 6200.

Moreover, the budget for the initial implementation of the said Act shall be charged to the BFP Modernization Trust Fund under Republic Act 11589 or the “Bureau of Fire Protection Modernization Act.”

Likewise, the necessary budget within the city or municipality level in implementing the said Act shall be charged from all taxes, fees, and fines collected pursuant to RA 9514 or the “Fire Code of the Philippines of 2008.”



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