MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has reminded volunteer fire organizations and security practitioners that they must first obtain a Certificate of Competence (COC) from the Office of Protection fire protection (BFP) before starting to operate.
According to Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Thursday, he instructed the BFP in In DILG Memorandum (MC) Circular No. 2022-072 to ensure that only qualified fire safety practitioners (FSPs) who have complied with requirements – such as a mandatory training program and the submission of documents – are allowed to help in the fight against the fire.
While the BFP is the agency mandated to put out fires, several groups and organizations have also set up fleets of firefighters and fire engines, intended to assist authorities in the event of an emergency.
“Fire safety is a matter of life and death for the victim, and we want to make sure we have the right competent people on top of that, whether in private or public buildings, establishments or facilities,” said Año in a statement.
“Therefore, the BFP must exercise due diligence in issuing COCs for fire safety professionals,” he added.
The DILG Chief pointed out that Section 126.96.36.199 of the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations (RIRR) of Republic Act No. 9514 or the Philippine Fire Code states that a COC must be issued by the BFP to lay off volunteers, burn volunteer organizations and FSFs once they complete mandatory training and evaluation.
Año said the same is true for professionals who design, build or maintain fire safety systems for buildings and establishments – these groups must first obtain a COC before operating.
“[…] Any licensed professional such as architects, civil, mechanical, electrical and sanitary engineers engaged in, but not limited to, the design, construction, installation, repair and maintenance, assessment and rehabilitation of building fire safety, extinguishing and control systems, protection and warning systems, and life safety related services are required to obtain a COC from the Chief BFP before proceeding. engage in such work,” he said.
“[…] The BFP can only grant a COC to FSPs who have satisfactorily met requirements such as completing 48 hours of mandatory training provided by the Fire Safety Practitioner Training Organization (FSPTO) on Passive Protection and active against fire, such as the protection of vertical openings and combustible concealments. spaces, fire breaks and automatic fire extinguishing system, among others,” he added.
Ensuring that FSPs and companies engaged in the creation and maintenance of fire safety systems are competent is important to protect the public from accidents, the DILG secretary said.
“Together with the BFP, we continue to find ways to ensure that our FSPs are competent and capable of carrying out their duties, as they are our first line of prevention responsible for ensuring that each project and construction maintains all fire protection and life safety devices,” Año noted.
In addition to this, the memorandum also mandated the establishment of a Board for the Issuance of Certificate of Competence (BICC), which will facilitate and streamline the processing of COCs.
The BICC, consisting of the Director of Fire Safety and Enforcement as Chair, the Chief Legal Officer of the BFP National Headquarters as Vice Chair and three other BFP staff with expertise in the said domain, is responsible for supervising the application of the COC. and evaluation processes.
Fires have declined in recent years, but BFP reported last March that fires have increased since the start of 2022. In an interview with GMA News on March 1, BFP spokesperson Supt. Annalee Carbajal-Atienza said fires from January to February 2022 increased by almost 13% compared to the same period in 2021.
Arming BFP staff with firearms inconsistent with duty to kill fire – CHR
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to access The Philippine Daily Inquirer and over 70 titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.
For comments, complaints or inquiries, contact us.