CEBU City Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella asked the General Services Office (GSO) to explain why it failed to maintain the firefighter equipment donated by the Japanese Government in 2000.

Labella’s directive came after he was informed that the 200-meter aerial ladder fire truck and water tanker have been stored at the junkyard of GSO at the South Road Properties (SRP).

In a letter to the vice mayor, Ronald Malacora, officer-in-charge of Department of Public Services, said that the two equipment were returned by former Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office executive director Simeon Romarate to Engr. Alberto Bontuyan, chief the equipment and repair and maintenance management, last March 2, 2015.

Malacora said that Romarate returned the vehicles because it is no longer serviceable.

“Since there are no available replacement parts to restore these units to operational condition, these are now considered as disposable equipment,” said Malacora.

However, Labella questioned why GSO failed to maintain the equipment, considering its importance when it comes to responding fire incidents in high-rise buildings.

He said that the donated truck, which is capable of reaching buildings up to 20 stories high, has a built-in platform and water canon to help contain fire from a distance.

“It’s saddening to note while we are saving money, here are firetrucks that we didn’t spend a single cent but were not properly taken cared of and were properly maintained. I hope this will not happen to our other vehicles,” Labella said.

When he was still a councilor, Labella, along with former councilor Rodolfo Estella, accepted the donated aerial ladder truck and a water tanker from the local government of Iki City in Japan.

Although Malacora said that the equipment is no longer serviceable, Labella still hopes that these will be repaired since these are manufactured by reputable brand of vehicles.

“If only these were properly taken cared of, I think it will not end up in a junkyard. The vehicles of the City should be properly maintained because it’s not enough that we only purchase brand new vehicles because maintenance is equally important otherwise, it will just end up all in junkyard,” Labella said.

Labella earlier asked GSO to conduct an inventory of the donated firefighting equipment after the City recently bought the 18-story ladder fire truck, which is reportedly the first of its kind in the City’s fleet of fire trucks.

Sought for comment on Labella’s request for an explanation, Malacora said that he will answer the matter when the letter reaches his office.