Senators nix giving firemen guns

The Senate on Wednesday rejected a proposal to allow members of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to carry firearms in cases of fire emergencies.

Thirteen senators voted against the proposed amendment on Senate Bill 1832 or the BFP Modernization Act of 2020, four lawmakers voted yes while two abstained.

Proposed by Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, the said amendment also wants the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Philippine National Police to provide appropriate training for firemen for the proper handling of short firearms.

Senator Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa, author of the said measure, defended Go saying that it was “borne out of the request” of President Rodrigo Duterte who wants to arm the (firemen) so they can serve as additional support to the country’s security forces.

“This amendment is borne out of the request coming from Malacañang. His intention was to arm the BFP personnel with short firearms. He wanted to make these personnel available to support the law enforcement operations of the PNP and the AFP,” De la Rosa said during the plenary session.

He further explained that firemen can act as substitute to cops and military personnel in the near future.

“There will be a time when the military will shift from counterinsurgency to external threat and the problem of insurgency will be created as a law enforcement problem and shall be transferred to PNP,” he said.

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