BFP Seeking to Amend RP's Fire Code

Manila Bulletin, September 24, 2004 | Go to article overview

BFP Seeking to Amend RP's Fire Code


Byline: ELENA L. ABEN

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) is seeking to amend the Presidential Decree 1185, otherwise known as the Fire Code of the Philippines (FCP), which was enacted in 1977, in a bid to update and strengthen the law and at the same time give the fire bureau more teeth to effectively implement its mandated functions.

F/Chief Supt. Francisco Senot, BFP chief, said that the move is being supported by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Rep. Darlene Antonio-Custodio (South Cotabato) shall introduce the proposed amendments to the existing fire code to Congress.

Senot said certain provisions of the said law is now obsolete considering that it was passed 27 years ago.

In seeking to amend the law, the BFP chief explained that reports have shown that the primary cause of tragic fires could be traced in the laxity of the enforcement of the building safety and fire laws, particularly the FCP and its implementing rules and regulations and related ordinances.

He admitted that the laxity and indifference of some public officers in the enforcement of the fire laws is due to the lesser degree of their accountability, as provided in the FCP.

He went on to say that considering that the FCP does not provide penalties against erring and negligent public officers, the sanctions that could be meted to them would be at most administrative, even though negligence has resulted to death or destruction of properties.

Senot added that to prosecute these erring public officers under the Revised Penal Code would be like rolling a boulder using a bamboo stick.

The BFP chief said it is then imperative for Congress to institute measures which shall strengthen the accountability of public officers entrusted with the duty of implementing the fire code as public interest demands that stricter penalties should be imposed, not only upon the owner, administrator, occupants or the persons responsible for the condition of a particular building, structure and their premises or facilities, but also the public officers concerned. …

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