Solon wants fire safety risk assessment of gov’t buildings

MANILA A lawmaker on Friday called on the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to implement a fire safety risk assessment of all government buildings following a fire that gutted the University of the Philippines (UP) Shopping Center in Diliman, Quezon City.

House of Representatives Committee on Metro Manila Development chairman, Winston Castelo, said the BFP, as the government agency mandated to prevent and suppress all kinds of destructive fire, should investigate its causes, enforce fire-related laws, and provide medical and emergency rescue services.

Castelo also noted that the month of March was declared as Fire Prevention Month because of the alarming increase of fire incidents happening across the country during this particular period.

"The BFP should anchor all the activities of the Fire Prevention Month towards fire safety at home and in offices, especially government buildings, by introducing innovative programs leading towards motivating the public to take fire safety as everyone's concern," Castelo said.

"Every Filipino should be responsible in maintaining and managing a fire-safe environment, not just during the Fire Prevention Month, but the whole year round," he added.

The UP Shopping Center was the latest among structures in UP Diliman that have been razed to the ground.

Other buildings in UP that burned down in recent years were the Narra Residence Hall, the Faculty Center, the Alumni Center, and the College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Association Food Center.

"We should immediately implement a fire safety risk assessment of all government buildings in order to prevent or avoid similar incidents in the future. By failing to prepare, we are preparing to fail," Castelo said.

Meanwhile, 1-Ang Edukasyon Partylist Rep. Salvador Belaro Jr. called on the Department of Budget and Management, Commission on Higher Education, and the UP administration to include funding for fire prevention, renovation, and restoration of UP's "aging buildings".

"Clearly, the campus buildings there need urgent measures. I ask the current UP leadership to make sure all the on-campus residence halls and dormitories have adequate fire prevention and response measures," Belaro said.

"For the restoration of buildings, a multi-year budget can be prepared and submitted to Congress," he added.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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