Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa on Wednesday pushed for the enactment into law of the bill that seeks to modernize the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) as well as the measure that provides new rank classification and organization of key positions in the BFP and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).
Dela Rosa, sponsor of both bills, said that like the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), both the BFP and the BJMP have shown the same dedication, sacrifice and service required to carry out their respective duties “to the extent of risking their lives and limbs.”
Because of this, Dela Rosa said, it is only fitting to “rectify the inequality in the rank and classification among the line bureaus” of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
“All of us are well aware that both the BFP and BJMP have contributed significantly to aid the National Government in providing public service in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dela Rosa said in his sponsorship speech for Senate Bill No. 1833.
“Our fellow public servants from the BJMP voluntarily donated a part of their salary to help the Government in providing financial aid to those affected by the pandemic. while at the same time ensuring that it continuously fights the spread of COVID-19 in its jail facilities,” he further said.
The BFP, on the other hand, is part of the Municipal or City COVID-19 Task Forces and in such capacity has been assisting the City or Municipal Health Office transport COVID-19 patients since the start of the pandemic.
“Considering the same level of sacrifice and dedication that the uniformed personnel of BJMP and BFP share with the PNP, as well as their significant contribution to the country in times of calamity and pandemic, this substitute bill aims to rectify the inequality in the rank classification among the line bureaus of the DILG,” the chair of the Senate committee on public order added.
“Tulad nga ng aking unang pahayag, tila napaghulihan na ng ibang line agencies ng DILG ang BFP at BJMP sa kanilang rank name at salary grade (Like what I said before, I think the BFP and BJMP have been lagging behind other line agencies of the DILG in terms of rank name and salary grade),” he said.
He said the significant and long overdue rank classification will not merely contribute to their performance and productivity, but will also boost their morale.
“Most importantly, it will give them a greater sense of responsibility that comes indispensable with the stars on their shoulders, ultimately, for the benefit of the people,” Dela Rosa said.
In a separate privilege speech, Dela Rosa also stressed the need to pass into law Senate Bill No. 1832 or the proposed BFP Modernization Act of 2020 in order for the government to pursue the modernization of the BFP.
He said the BFP, as the country’s primary agency responsible for fire safety, prevention and suppression, is badly in need of improvement in order to keep up with the colossal task given to its firefighters and fire officers.
“The BFP is considered as one of the most undermanned and under-equipped government agencies,” he said.
“I urge the body to immediately pass this long overdue legislative measure to help the BFP in pursuing its mandate of ‘promoting public safety by saving lives and protecting property in times of emergencies’,” Dela Rosa said in his speech.