Solon files bill that will reward volunteer firefighters

A MEMBER of Congress wants to reward the country’s 7,200 volunteer firefighters with some encouragement in recognition of their enormous contributions to saving lives and properties.

Rep. Arnel Ty of the party-list group LPG Marketers’ Association (LPGMA) filed a bill seeking to extend certain benefits to all volunteer firefighters, “in return for their unpaid services in promoting public safety.”

“Volunteer firefighters provide a great service and risk their lives and limbs every day, solely out of a sense of duty to the community. They deserve our support,” Ty said.

He said volunteer fire brigades across the country, including those established by Filipino-Chinese districts, command a total of 1,200 fire trucks, each with an average crew of six trained fighters.

“These firefighting units save government some P850 million in annual costs. Government does not spend any amount for the volunteers, or for the operations or maintenance of their fire trucks,” Ty pointed out.

LPGMA alone has 40 volunteer fire brigades, each with a fire truck, deployed around Metro Manila. If the units are not helping to put off destructive fires, they are delivering free clean water to barangays facing shortages.

As proposed by Ty in House Bill 4322, volunteer firefighters would receive free and full medical care and treatment in any government hospital.

They would also be entitled to scholarships at any of the centers of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

In case of dismemberment in action, every volunteer firefighter would receive P25,000.

Should a volunteer firefighter make the supreme sacrifice, his family would receive a P60,000 death benefit, plus a P10,000 funeral assistance.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) would extend the financial benefits.

Ty’s bill also proposes to install a Volunteer Firefighters Board. It would establish a Volunteer Firefighting and Safety Training Program, supervise all volunteer units and their resources, and create a certification process.

The board would be composed of the DILG chief, the Bureau of Fire Protection head, a health undersecretary, and two representatives from any of the federations of volunteer fire brigades.

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