THE Philippine National Police (PNP) supports the idea of President Rodrigo Duterte to arm members of the Bureau of Fire and Protection (BFP) to augment the police in maintaining order.
“This move of tapping the BFP as force multiplier by allowing its uniformed personnel to bear firearms would also further bolster the government’s campaign against criminality and effectively capacitate the BFP in responding to national emergency,” PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said in a statement on Saturday.
Banac said in many occasions, firefighters hesitate to enter a fire scene without police protection because they have experienced angry mobs attacking them.
“If licensed private security guards are allowed by law to carry licensed firearms to serve as force multipliers of the PNP, then there’s more reason that uniformed BFP personnel, who could also be targeted by criminals, shall also be issued firearms for self-defense, with proper training on marksmanship and gun-safety, and for peace and order tasks,” he added.
On Thursday, President Duterte said he wanted to arm firefighters, saying the job of BFP personnel is not limited only to killing fire.
“You know, you have to help in the law and order. You are not limited to just fire. You have to go around and help the policeman and the military,” the President said in a speech during the 28th founding anniversary of the BFP.
Banac said the PNP, BFP and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology assisting the Armed Forces of the Philippines “in times of national emergency” is mandated, upon direction of the President, under Section 12 of Republic Act 6975 or the “Department of the Interior and Local Government Act of 1990.”