BFP-Central Visayas office ordered to stay in HQ-A A +A
Saturday, October 19, 2013
THE national headquarters of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) has ordered its regional and Cebu City office not to vacate their building on N. Bacalso Ave., contrary to Mayor Michael Rama’s wish.
The mayor asked BFP 7 and the City Fire Department to transfer to the Cebu City Sports Center and Parian Fire Station, respectively, as their offices will be converted into a temporary hospital.
Rama ordered the demolition of the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) based on the recommendation of engineers who reported that the structural integrity of the hospital building has been affected by the 7.2-magnitude earthquake last Tuesday.
In his one-page memorandum, BFP National Headquarters Officer-In-Charge Carlito Romero ordered BFP 7 and BFP Cebu City to stay in their offices.
“You are hereby directed to stay in your post and continue to perform your duties and responsibilities as firefighters until further advice from the Office of the Secretary of the Interior and Local Government. For strict compliance,” read Romero’s memorandum.
BFP 7 chief legal officer Karlo Benito Cruz said they will comply with the order.
“We will stay put. As of the moment, yan po ang aming pinaninindigan kasi po siyempre (that is our stand because) we are governed by orders. We are just obeying the lawful order issued by our superior,” he said in an interview yesterday.
Cruz said they cannot just leave their building and hold office at the sports center as they have many files and equipment.
He said the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Cebu City, which has jurisdiction over BFP, has been negotiating with the City Government since last Thursday so BFP 7 will be allowed to stay in the building.
"Di rin naman maganda na bigla kaming ma-didisplace (It’s not fair to kick us out) and to think that we are also public servants performing our duties particularly when the earthquake happened," he said.
When the city was hit by the earthquake, Cruz pointed out that BFP personnel were the ones who helped CCMC officials transfer patients to BFP's parking area, chapel and sports complex.
He added that the City Fire Department already gave up the ground floor so CCMC patients will be accommodated.
“Willing naman kaming mag-share. Wag lang kunin yung buong building kasi maraming madi-displace sa amin (We’re willing to share. Just don’t get the entire building because many of us will be displaced),” Cruz said, adding that the regional office alone has 70 personnel.
If the City insists on transferring them, Cruz said, they should secure an order from the DILG.
In his regular news conference yesterday, Rama said use of the BFP offices to accommodate CCMC patients is just temporary.
He said he is looking for other areas for the patients, such as the Central Command.
While the hospital building is being demolished, Rama said the CCMC can only provide out-patient services.
City residents who need to be confined will have to be referred to other hospitals, he added.
The mayor said he will ask for the help of the National Government so that work on the CCMC building can start sooner.
Until the new hospital is realized, Rama is asking BFP to make a sacrifice.
“Kinsa man diay magtinabangay kun di silingan ra? Pero di tamo biyaan (Who else would help each other but us, neighbors? I will not abandon you)” he said, addressing the BFP.
he BFP building is located across CCMC.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 19, 2013.