By PNA and U.S. News Agency / Asian
President Benigno S. Aquino III Tuesday led the 21st anniversary celebration of the Bureau of Fire Protection.
The President acknowledged the significant reforms sown by the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo which are now being continued by his successor, Manuel Roxas, towards the improvement of the said agency.
In his speech, Aquino recounted how BFP was transformed from an agency once hounded by controversies involving some officials who went awry to an institution with servicemen that would dare risk their lives in order to save the lives of Filipinos from danger.
The President said he understands the perils that firemen are facing in their line of duty which is why the government is working hard to complement their efforts and sacrifices by providing their needs in terms of equipment and additional benefits.
In line with this, he cited the considerable steps taken by Robredo during his incumbency which, he said, allowed the bureau to acquire 76 Austrian Rosenbauer 1,000-gallon water pumper fire trucks through a loan agreement between the government and the UniCredit Bank of Austria.
He announced that 12 out of these arriving 76 Rosenbauer fire trucks will be ready for use by December of this year and the remaining 64 units shall be delivered to the bureau by next year.
The President, moreover, expressed gratitude to Kim Jong Kee of the Korean Federation of Fire Associations for the four fire trucks they contributed which, will be a great help to communities that are in need of these equipment for their disaster response operations.
He also lauded the DILG-BFP for successfully signing a convergence program called “Buying a Living Tree System” with the Dept. of Social Welfare and Development and the Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources.
“Panatag tayo sa pawis at panahon na ididilig ng mga piling komunidad, katuwang ang iba’t ibang ahensiya ng pamahalaan, maaalagaan at mapapayabong pa natin ang ating mga likas na yaman. Gayundin, sa handog nitong hanapbuhay, mapagiginhawa natin ang kalagayan ng ating mga kababayan,” the President said.
The Chief Executive reiterated that the government will keep on pushing for its housing project for the members of the BFP to give them the respite and relief they so deserve. He said the administration is targeting to distribute about 1,800 to intended beneficiaries by August 2013.
“Sa mga benepisyaryo nito, hindi lamang mapapababa sa dalawandaang piso kada buwan ang ibabayad ninyo para sa bahay, paglaon, magiging pag-aari ninyo na rin ang naipatayong tahanan, at tayo po’y nag-uumpisa pa lang. Bago matapos ang taong ito, inaasahan na ring makumpleto ang procurement ng dagdag pa ninyong mga kasangkapan-tulad ng coat, trouser, bota, helmet, at iba pa. Naniniwala pa rin po tayo, kakambal ng mas maayos na kagamitan ang mas mabuting kakayanan sa paglilingkod,” he stressed.
“Tinanong ko ulit kay Secretary Roxas, kausap ko ang inyong OIC-ilista natin, ano ba talaga ang mga kailangan n’yo? Hindi ko naman masasabi sa inyong matulog kayo ngayon, bukas ide-deliver na, pero palagay ko kakayanin kong harapin kayo bawat isa at masabing, ‘Hindi kami titigil hanggang mapuno ang inyong kakulangan at talaga namang madama na n’yo na talagang kayong kumakalinga sa lipunan ay kinakalinga rin ng lipunan,’ he emphasized.
The President Aquino recognized that continuing the reforms implemented by the late Secretary Robredo is both a “challenge” and an “opportunity” adding that it’s up to the BFP under the supervision of Secretary Roxas to uphold these developments.
“Nag-iwan na ng bakas ang kanyang mga tsinelas-tanda ito sa layo na ng ating narating, at sa layo pa ng ating lalakbayin. Umaasa ako sa bawat isa sa inyo – kasama kayong tatahak sa tapat at tuwid na landas ng pagseserbisyo-publiko. Wala nang hilahan, wala nang atrasan, pasulong lang ang ating hakbang tungo sa kaunlaran,” President Aquino said.