THE Bureau of Fire Protection Cordillera admitted Friday they presently lack the capabilities to fight large forest fires.
“We do not have enough capability to fight forest fires,” SFO2 Josesito Dollente, regional information officer of BFP, said.
Dollente said most of the present equipment of the fire departments is mainly for the aid of putting out fires in urbanized areas just like the city.
“Basta malapit sa kalsada wala tayong problema, pero kung hindi, mahihirapan tayo,” Dollente said.
According to the officials of BFP, unlike that of fire protection units abroad, the fire protection unit particularly in the Cordillera does not have much of the necessary equipment such as helicopters to handle fire situations inside forested and sloped lands.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources however entered into a memorandum of agreement with the BFP to assign forest rangers to respond first hand during forest or grass fires.
But Baguio Fire marshal Joe Fernand Bangyod said although they lack the needed equipment most of the firemen in Cordillera are considered one of the best nationwide.
According to Bangyod, Baguio City fire personnel are on top in terms of effectiveness and efficiency.
The Fire Code of the Philippines otherwise known as P.D. 1185 was recently amended in 2008 into RA 9514 that according to BFP totally revoked the old fire code.
“If you can see 80 percent of the new fire code pushes for the modernization of BFP, we are all hoping that in the near future we will all get to evolve,” Dollente said.
In 2012 statistics show there had been a total of 47 forest and grass fires recorded within Cordillera.
According to BFP the most causes of forest and grass fires usually trace back to unsupervised burning areas or open flames and improper disposal of lit cigarette butts. (Mark Pasagoy/UC Intern)