Interior Secretary Eduardo Año insisted that firefighters of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) should be given firearms this 2020.
Año said in a press statement that arming the 29,286 BFP personnel is timely and beneficial to the government’s efforts of fighting illegal drugs, criminality, terrorism, and violent extremism.
“Maintaining law and order is not an easy task. Despite the decreasing crime rate in the country, having the BFP’s firefighters in our peace and order campaign is a boost and welcome addition in ensuring a safe and secure country,” Año said.
He further said giving firearms to firefighters was aligned with President Rodrigo Duterte’s previous directive of “engaging the help of the BFP to maintain law and order and not to limit themselves to fire-fighting.”
Interior Secretary Año says firefighters must be given firearms
“The BFP also does law enforcement functions because they enforce the Fire Code, so they already have some experience in this regard,” Año said.
“The BFP can help ensure public safety, as a support to the PNP (Philippine National Police) and AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), but of course, their primary responsibility is still preventing and suppressing fire and enforcement of the Fire Code,” the secretary added.
According to Año, BFP already requested funds from the Department of Budget and Management for purchasing 9mm pistols the agency will give to firefighters.
Año ensured the firefighters would undergo gun safety training and marksmanship before they will be issued firearms.
Meanwhile, BFP director Jose Segundo Embang said arming firefighters is an upgrade in terms of responsibilities and skills to “cope with the demands of the times.”