By Roy Mabasa
The Japanese government has turned over 22 emergency vehicles to some 20 local government units (LGUs) in Luzon to help them adequately respond to disasters and emergencies in their respective localities.
Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda and Department of Interior and Local Governments Secretary Eduardo Año led the turnover ceremony at the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Headquarters in Quezon City on Monday, March 25.
It was acknowledged that the BFP, being one of the government agencies at the forefront of disaster response in the country, has an insufficient number of emergency vehicles at its fire stations to deliver its mandate.
This handicap became apparent during typhoon Yolanda in 2013. After which, the Embassy of Japan started extending assistance in providing emergency vehicles to the BFP.
The additional 22 vehicles distributed in the 20 LGUs in Luzon is expected to benefit around 3 million individuals.
So far, Japan has already provided a total of 37 units for the Visayas, 17 units for Mindanao and 22 units for Luzon with a total grant amounting to USD 998,357 (about PhP52 million).
The Japanese grant of emergency vehicles aims to assist the BFP in addressing its shortage of emergency vehicles and improve its emergency services response.
It also complements the efforts being made by Japan in improving disaster risk reduction and management in the Philippines.
As a top Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) donor to the Philippines, the Japanese government launched the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP) in the Philippines in 1989 for the purpose of reducing poverty and helping various communities engaged in grassroots activities. To date, 543 grassroots projects have