DILG: 600 towns have no fire trucks

Published by rudy Date posted on December 22, 2010

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) chief on Wednesday said at least 600 municipalities all over the country have no fire trucks.

In an interview, DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo said the number does not include cities that also lack fire trucks despite having bigger populations.

“If you have 600 towns without fire trucks, and each fire truck costs about P4 million-P5 million, then you need P3 billion to buy a fire truck for each town. This includes other firefighting equipment and uniforms for firefighters,” he told radio dzMM.

Robredo said he has submitted several proposals to Malacañang to address the lack of firefighting equipment and fire trucks all over the country.

The proposals include tapping the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for additional government assistance and using the calamity funds of local government units to purchase fire trucks and firefighting equipment.

The lack of fire trucks came to light after a deadly blaze killed 16 people in a Tuguegarao City pension house last Sunday. Most of the victims were nursing graduates about to take the nursing licensure exams.

Sharing of equipment

ABS-CBN News found out that 69 personnel of the Tuguegarao fire fighting office have to share 5 boots, 5 trousers, 5 firecoats, one flashlight, and a broken axe when responding to emergencies.

Tuguegarao fire chief Jesus Fernandez admitted that they lack equipment but denied that his men were drunk when they responded to the fire, as witnesses claimed.

He added that his men did not receive a fire alarm despite the blaze being only half a kilometer away. A passing motorist only informed them about the fire, he said.

Robredo has ordered the relief of 8 Tuguegarao fire inspectors for failing to inspect the Bed and Breakfast Pension House.

He said he will also issue a memorandum that will make provincial fire marshalls accountable for the regular quarterly fire inspections of business establishments. “Sometimes, you cannot stop a fire from happening but you can stop the loss of life,” he said. –abs-cbnNEWS.com

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