THE Philippine National Police (PNP) has expressed support to the idea of President Rodrigo Duterte to arm the members of the Bureau of Fire and Protection (BFP) in order for them to help in law enforcement and maintaining peace and order.
“This move of tapping the BFP as force multiplier by allowing its uniformed personnel to bear firearms would also further bolster the government's campaign against criminality and effectively capacitate the BFP in responding to national emergency,” PNP spokesperson Brigadier General Bernard Banac said in a statement on Saturday.
“Under Section 12 of Republic Act 6975 or the “Department of the Interior and Local Government Act of 1990, in times of national emergency, all elements of the PNP (Philippine National Police) the Bureau of Fire Protection, and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) shall, upon direction of the President, assist the Armed Forces of the Philippines in meeting the national emergency,” Banac added.
The PNP, BFP. and BJMP were all attached agencies of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Not only in maintaing peace and order, being armed also help the BFP members to perform their mandate.
He said firefighters sometimes hesitate to enter a fire scene without police protection because of possible attacks.
Banac said the security has always been a serious concern of the BFP during response operation due to several unruly evacuees.
“Many times, responding firemen hesitate to enter a fire scene without sufficient security cover by their local police counterparts due to past incidents wherein angry mob attacked firemen at the fire scene out of frustrations,” he said.
“If licensed private security guards are allowed by law to carry licensed firearms to serve as force multipliers of the PNP, then there’s more reason that uniformed BFP personnel, who could also be targeted by criminals, shall also be issued firearms for self defense, with proper training on marksmanship and gun-safety, and for peace and order tasks,” he added.
Duterte has earlier ordered the members of the BFP to augment the PNP and AFP in the maintenance of peace and order within their respective areas of jurisdiction.
He said he will upgrade the capability of the BFP by producing more fire trucks and providing more training.
“You are not limited to just fire. You have to go around and help the police and the military. You must help, and you must have killed the enemy, kasi ang enemy ninyo papatayin talaga kayo,” Duterte said during the BFP’s 28th founding anniversary held at the Philippine International Convention Center on Thursday evening, August 1. (SunStar Philippines)