The STAR / Edd Gumban
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government defended Sunday the provision in the recently-signed Bureau of Fire Protection Modernization Act that will create a Security and Protection Unit in each regional and city fire station.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed the bill to modernize the fire protection bureau on Friday at a ceremony in Malacañang. The bill includes a provision allowing 2,282 firefighters to be armed. Guns only 'to ward off threats'
The Commission on Human Rights also said that the proposal to arm firefighters "may only cause more harm than good."
Senators initially resisted the provision but were eventually outvoted by Duterte's allies in Congress.
But Sen. Ronald dela Rosa, who sponsored the bill in the upper chamber, told senators that creating a Security and Protection Unit of the BFP in each city and municipality would serve to protect firefighters when faced with "unruly" people while on duty.
Duterte himself justified arming firefighters as he signed the bill, saying that giving them guns would "really be just to ward off threats and destruction of government properties."
Malaya on Sunday held a similar tone, saying that firefighters would undergo marksmanship and gun safety training before the issuance of their firearms.
"We will not just arm them without proper training," he said.Post too long. Click here to view the full text.