Did Robredo scold BFP
over fire hazard postings?
By Francis Allan L. Angelo
DID the secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) scold the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in Iloilo City for posting fire hazard warnings on several establishments including the hotel owned by the family of the city’s lone representative to the House?
Reports were rife that Sec. Jesse Robredo gave the BFP-Iloilo City headed by C/Insp. Rodolfo Denaga an earful upon learning of reports that the fire agency posted the warnings sans without informing City Hall.
The Iloilo City Government was rattled by the BFP’s move reportedly claiming that it could affect the business-friendly climate of the metropolis.
Robredo, whose charge includes the PNP and BFP, was in Iloilo City Tuesday to attend a forum on transparency in local governance held at the Iloilo Grand Hotel.
But Denaga said the DILG chief only issued clarifications as regards the implementation of fire safety codes on business establishments.
In a press conference, Robredo said the local chief executive that should be the one who will implement sanctions such as posting of warning signs of business establishments upon orders or recommendations of the BFP.
“The secretary only encouraged close coordination between the city government and our office as regards the posting of fire hazard warnings on buildings. In fact, we have been doing that after the first round of posting. Under our own regulations, we actually give businesses 15 days to comply with the noted deficiencies before we post the warnings. The BFP does not want to scare away investors but we also have a mandate to follow, which is to protect the public and businesses from the effects of fire,” Denaga said.
Denaga said they will continue to monitor the compliance of business establishments “until further orders from the higher ups.”
“Again, it’s all about public safety. We all know the tragedies caused by fire due to insufficient safety measures. We don’t want that to happen in Iloilo City in order for us to be aware of our responsibilities under the law,” he added.
The BFP-Iloilo City recently identified 22 establishments violating the fire code, particularly on non-compliance with certain fire safety measures such as sprinklers, fire alarms and standard fire exits.
The office also posted “fire hazard warnings” on Sarabia Manor Hotel and Convention Center, Punta Villa Resort, West Town Hotel and Medicus Philippines Inc. buildings in the City Proper and Mandurriao districts for failure to secure a fire safety inspection certificate which is a prerequisite to the issuance of business permits from City Hall.
Sarabia Manor Hotel and Convention Center is owned by the family of Iloilo City Rep. Jerry P. Treñas, an ally of Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog.
The Revised Fire Code of the Philippines of 2008 (Republic Act 9514) gave building owners two years to install the automatic fire suppression system (AFSS) or sprinkler systems.
The installation of AFSS is one of the new requirements under the new fire code, and they have proven to be of great help in ensuring fire safe establishments.
While establishments are in the process of installing the sprinklers, the owners must comply with the provisions of fire safety requirements under the old Fire Code, Presidential Decree 1185.