Which is better?

THESE past few weeks, there has been a lot of noise about the controversial plan of the Bureau of Fire and Protection (BFP) to purchase imported fire trucks that utilize power take off (PTO) driven fire pump instead of the locally produced fire trucks with separate power for vehicle engine and water pump.

I was analyzing the points being raised by Party-List Rep. Angelo Palmones (AGHAM) who has been very vocal in his opposition to the plan and based on what I heard and read, it seems like he has valid reasons in making his stand.

Unlike other politicians who love to grand stand on certain issues, Palmones who is a former newsman himself prefers to study and ponder on the merits of certain issue before making a stand.

And as a known science advocate and a strong supporter of Filipino inventors he came to the conclusion that the plan of BFP to buy imported PTO fire trucks  is anti-Filipino and smacks of colonial mentality.

He was correct because the mere fact that the BFP prefers imported products showed that they (BFP officials) do not trust the capability as well as the technical know-how of our local manufacturers in making reliable and efficient fire trucks.

“ We are convinced that our local fire truck manufacturers are more than capable of supplying and filling up the requirements of the BFP as it tries to fully equip and upgrade its firefighting capabilities” Palmones said in a recent interview.

Palmones specifically cited the case of Anos Research Manufacturing (ARM) which for the longest time has been supplying fire trucks to the BFP that use separate power for vehicle engine and water pump, and has been certified by the bureau to have passed all its technical specifications and requirements.

Fire trucks with separate engines are accepted and recognized in both national and international settings because of their inherent advantages over PTO trucks.

The engine of fire trucks lasts longer when the fire pump is driven separately and any trouble that may occur during emergency situations would not totally affect the operation of fire pumps unlike the PTOs in which any trouble with the engine would surely affect the entire performance of the vehicle.

It helps that ARM has a very good track record for coming out with fire trucks that are known for their unprecedented quality, affordability and reliability.

Also in as much as their fire trucks are locally manufactured it follows that there would be immediate spare parts available in the event that a particular truck needs to be repaired or maintained.

Likewise, there is no need for the BFP and DILG to look for foreign suppliers in as much the move would deprive our local fire truck assemblers of their inherent right to be protected .

Actually, there are laws that support the so-called “ Filipino First policy” such as Section 12 of our Constitution that says “the State shall promote the preferential use of of Filipino labor, domestic materials and locally produced goods and adopts measures that help make them competitive”.

The 1987 Constitution which was passed during the term of former Corazon C. Aquino has specifically promoted the doctrine of “Filipino First Policy”. The said law was subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court in Manila Prince Hotel vs. GSIS, 267 SCRA 408 (1997).

Other laws that support the Filipino First policy are Section 3 of Commonwealth Act No. 138 or “The Flag Law”, Section 78 of Book VI of “The Revised Administrative Code of 1987” and Sections 1 and 3 of Administrative Order No. 227 dated May 27, 2008.

Given these arguments, it is safe to assume that these laws would surely be violated if preference is given to foreign manufacturers/suppliers over and above our local manufacturers.

What was also alarming is the report that the terms of reference was tailor-made to favor the foreign suppliers and we cannot discount the possibility that the plan to buy imported fire trucks could have been triggered by the desire of some top brass from the DILG and BFP to make quick bucks out of the transaction.

Whatever the reason behind the plan, I believe that this is unfair to our local manufacturers which employ local employees and in the process is helping the government in its job generation programs.

Hence, it is obvious that the reply to the poser above is that local fire trucks are way better than imported ones. Bobby Ricohermoso

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