MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino has approved the release of P10 billion for the procurement of police and fire protection equipment.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II said yesterday of the P10 billion, P3.4 billion will be allocated for the procurement of 300 fire trucks to be distributed to localities without firefighting equipment.
The funds will also cover the construction of 300 fire stations to ensure that the fire trucks will be properly maintained.
Roxas said proper procedures will be observed in the procurement of the fire trucks.
He made the announcement as the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) kicked off the observance of Fire Prevention Week at the Quezon Memorial Circle yesterday morning.
He joined the unity-walk from the BFP headquarters in Agham Road to the Circle.
During the event, Roxas supervised the distribution of 38 Austria-made Rosenbauer fire trucks to 22 cities, bringing to 76 the total number of highly-urbanized cities now equipped with world-class fire-fighting equipment.
He said the Rosenbauer fire trucks, considered the Mercedes Benz of fire-fighting vehicles, were acquired at a cost lower than the locally-assembled fire trucks procured during the previous administration.
The Rosenbauer fire trucks are equipped with water cannons that can fire to at least 62 meters horizontally and 24 meters vertically, or equivalent to an 8-story building.
Roxas said the 76 brand new Rosenbauer fire trucks worth P1.3 billion were acquired through the credit facility granted by the Austrian government, which has a grant element of 60 percent at a concessional rate of 1 percent per annum.
The program was initiated by the late Secretary Jesse Robredo, he added.
Roxas said 38 other fire trucks were earlier distributed to areas in Eastern Visayas that Super Typhoon Yolanda had devastated.
The firetrucks were financed by an Official Development Assistance (ODA) from the Austrian government with a repayment term of 14 years, with 3 years grace period in the amount of 20,493,740 euros.
Roxas said the original Rosenbauer project cost P1.3 billion, computed then at an exchange rate of P65 per $1.
The amount of P532,837,240 or 40 percent represents loan amount, while 60 percent represents the grant element.
“If computed at present value, the unit cost per Rosenbauer fire truck is more or less P7 million,” he said. “This is far cheaper than the locally-assembled fire trucks which the past DILG administration procured at between P8 to P9.9 million per unit.”
Roxas said the procurement of world-class fire-fighting equipment is part of the administration’s modernization program for the BFP.
Roxas called on the BFP to expand the scope of its information and education campaign on fire prevention to include training exercises on disaster preparedness and response.
The BFP must find ways to speed up the application for fire clearances required for building permits without sacrificing the strict implementation of the Fire Code, he added.
Roxas said the P10 billion is also allocated for the procurement of 2,000 patrol vehicles for the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The vehicles would be pickups, which could accommodate policemen at the back during patrols.