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Cebuano lawmaker pushes for BFP firefighting choppers

By: Gabriel Pabico Lalu - | April 24,2024 - 06:30 AM


MANILA, Philippines — Deputy Speaker and Cebuano congressman Duke Frasco has called on the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to incorporate funds for helicopters in their upcoming 2025 budget to enhance their firefighting capabilities.

Frasco said on Tuesday that he filed House Resolution No. 1686 calling on the BFP and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to include the use of helicopters in its arsenal of firefighting methods.

According to Frasco, there have been several fires in 2024 where the loss of life and property could have been prevented if the BFP had helicopters to use — especially when firetrucks cannot immediately access densely-populated areas.

“A recent fire incident was reported on 16 April 2024 in a residential area in Isla F. Manalo, Barangay Batis, San Juan City which reached the third alarm before it was put out. The fire which lasted for almost three hours caused the death of one volunteer firefighter, affected about eighty families composed of 318 individuals, and destroyed a total of P1.5 million worth of properties,” Frasco said in the resolution.

“The most common issue in responding to this similar fire incident in residential and densely populated areas is its accessibility due to narrow streets and pathways and adverse traffic conditions […] aerial firefighting is considered a highly effective approach for fire suppression in both urban and rural settings, especially for widespread fires,” he added.

Frasco said news reports which stated that the country has experienced a 25 percent increase in fire incidents for the first two months of 2024 should already call the attention of the BFP regarding its modernization program.

“There is a need to enhance and modernize the BFP and ensure its responsiveness by upgrading the level of fire protection services through measures including the acquisition of new and modern equipment and vehicles such as firefighting helicopters,” he said.

“Now therefore be it resolved […] that the members of the House of Representatives urge the [BFP] and [DILG] to include in their National Expenditure Program for FY (Fiscal Year) 2025, the purchase of firefighting helicopters,” he added.

Currently, the executive is in the process of crafting the national budget for 2025, which under the 1987 Constitution, should be submitted to the House of Representatives within 30 days after the sitting president’s State of the Nation Address (Sona).

With the Sona expected to be held on July 22, the executive has until August 21 to submit the National Expenditures Program for 2025.

A law modernizing the BFP was enacted last December 2021, which included a provision for arming firefighters.


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TAGS: BFP, Duke Frasco

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