NV office is optimistic on BFP modernization

NV office is optimistic on BFP modernization

As part of his significant strategies, FSUPT PEDRO B ESPINOSA who took the helm of the Nueva Vizcaya Provincial Office of the Bureau of Fire Protection (NVBFP) on February 5, 2024, in place of FSUPT ARCHIE R ANDUMANG who was promoted to full-fledged Colonel and assigned as Fire Marshall of the Province of Isabela, led a “Talakayan” with members of national and local media outfits in the afternoon of February 26, 2024 at the NVBFP, Provincial Capitol to help bolster the local office’s visibility and the community’s awareness of its programs, projects, and activities (PPAs).

This is in line with the nation’s earnest efforts to realize the noble aims of its BFP Modernization Program, targeted to be implemented over a period of ten (10) years following the approval of Republic Act No. 11589, otherwise known as the “Bureau of Fire Protection Modernization Act”, on September 10, 2021.

The said Program was designed to contribute to the overall public safety of the country by improving its firefighting and emergency response infrastructure. It generally includes: (1) Acquisition of modern firefighting equipment: This involves procuring state-of-the-art firefighting tools, gears, and apparatus to enhance the BFP’s operational effectiveness; (2) Upgrading of firefighting vehicles: Replacement or upgrading of firefighting trucks, ambulances, and other vehicles to improve response times and capabilities; (3) Improvement of training facilities: Enhancing training facilities to provide firefighters with up-to-date skills and knowledge necessary for effective emergency response; and (4) Strengthening of communication systems: Upgrading communication infrastructure to enable better coordination and communication during firefighting operations.

In his presentation of the mandates of the provincial office and the bureau, in general, Fire Marshall Espinosa exuded optimism over the BFP Modernization Program, given the positive responses of support and cooperation that they have been receiving from their partner agencies and institutions, which could be enhanced further with a stronger alliance with the media.

Attaining full modernization of the country’s firefighting stations is indeed a complex and difficult process, where, aside from careful planning, funding, and coordination, there is also a need to educate the public about its benefits and challenges, which is crucial for building cooperation and support from the stakeholders and the community at large.

As explained by Fire Marshall Espinosa, although the BFP Modernization Program is demanding in terms of manpower, logistics, and systems, given the minuscule budgets of their office and those of the municipal fire stations, he believes that it is attainable. He stressed that dedication to duty and resourcefulness are key elements to the productive and successful accomplishment of the PPAs of any office.

In keeping with its mandate of protecting the communities against destructive fire, the BFP is mandated to establish at least one (1) fire station with adequate personnel, and firefighting facilities and equipment in every provincial capital, city, and municipality, subject to standard rules and regulations as may be promulgated by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Fire Marshall Espinosa said that the NVBFP, along with its partners, has been vigorously pouring all its efforts into helping the fire stations across the province to meet the basic requirements of the program, i.e., an office building worth P10M erected on at least 1,000 sq.m. lot and manned by no less than 21 personnel based on the following ratios of personnel complement and modern life-saving vehicles with accessories: 14 staff : 1 Firetruck worth P15M, and 8 staff : 1 Ambulance worth P4M.

“Villaverde was the first to comply with the typical design for fire stations, followed by A. Castañeda, Aritao, Dupax del Sur, Kayapa, Kasibu, and soon by Dupax del Norte and Bambang”, he added.

FO2 Kristine Irish R. Villareal reported that, as of February 26, 2024, Nueva Vizcaya has 32 firetrucks deployed across its 15 municipalities, as follows: North District (18): Solano (5), Bagabag (4), Bayombong (3), Quezon (2), Ambaguio (1), Diadi (1), Villaverde (1), and Office of the Provincial Fire Marshall (1); and South District (14): Bambang (3), Aritao (2), Dupax del Norte (2), Dupax del Sur (2), Santa Fe (2), A. Castañeda (1), Kasibu (1), and Kayapa (1). The province has also 6 ambulances, i.e., Bayombong (2), Solano (1), Aritao (2), and Santa Fe (1).

In terms of effectiveness and efficiency in their delivery of services, Fire Marshall Espinosa said that they are guided by their Strategic Community Fire Protection Plan and capitalize on the synergy of the complementary strengths of their partnerships and alliances. Among such collaborators, he said, are the Community Fire Auxiliary Groups headed by Barangay Captains, Fire Brigades of private institutions, and TODA Rescue Teams.

He said that they are also conducting training, orientations, and workshops among firefighting workers, as well as house-to-house inspections, and orientations of owners and operators of restaurants and boarding houses, among others.

“All these are prompting us to source out funds elsewhere given our very limited budgets, and we are glad indeed that the Provincial Government of Nueva Vizcaya (PGNV) had always been at our back”, Fire Marshall Espinosa said.

SFO3 Dhaise Leal-Cabauatan said, Governor Jose V. Gambito, during the courtesy call on him of provincial and municipal BFP officers led by Fire Marshall Espinosa that took place earlier in the morning, accentuated the pivotal role of the firefighting agency in protecting and saving lives and properties, and the unwavering support of the PGNV, in terms of financial and technical assistance, and system-handshaking with the 911 Emergency Hotline of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) headed by Mr. King Webster B. Balaw-ing, among others.

SFO1 Jake M. Ligue, Finance Officer of the NVBFP, confirmed that they are getting financial support yearly from the PGNV. For this year, the provincial office has an allocation of P600,000, including the P200,000 from the PDRRMO funds earmarked for the first semester, under the PGNV’s Peace and Order and Public Safety Plan.

Seeing the need to establish fuller fiscal autonomy which will result in greater political independence of the firefighting arm of the government, the PAIAD Chief of the PGNV brought out the possibility of including the BFP among the mandatory regular recipients of the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (LDRRMF), which is composed of 30% lump-sum allocation for Quick Response Fund (QRF) and 70% for Mitigation and Preparedness Fund (MPF).

FO3 Karra Mae Changiwan Crisostomo disclosed that for this coming Fire Prevention Month, the NVBFP and its municipal fire stations will be spearheading the conduct of the following activities in the province:
March 1: Fire Prevention Month Kickoff Ceremony and Bloodletting Activity at the Provincial Capitol;
March 5: Arts Contest (OPFM);
March 10-16: Community Relations Week – Open House at the Fire Stations, including a Fire Square Roadshow on March 13 at the Provincial Capitol
March 22: Tree Planting Activity; and
During the last week of the month: Culminating Activities.

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