18, 2013

NR # 3260

Solons: Use fee collections imposed under Fire Code to buy firefighting equipment
Two lawmakers proposed that local government units retain 50 percent of their tax, fee and fine collections imposed under the Fire Code of the Philippines for the maintenance and purchase of fire fighting gadgets, equipment and fire trucks for local fire stations. The proposal was raised by Reps. Rufus Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro City) and Maximo Rodriguez, Jr. (Party-list, Abante Mindanao) who both noted that despite the huge amount of fire inspection fees remitted to the National Treasury, the national government has failed to provide for the purchase of new fire trucks and equipment necessary for fire prevention. Hence, dilapidated fire trucks and worn out firefighting equipment are perennial problems in the prevention and suppression of fire according to the solons. The elder Rodriguez said fire prevention and suppression require the adoption of uniform fire safety standards, the incorporation of fire safety facilities and provision of protective and safety devices in buildings and structures. “In order to effectively implement all efforts to minimize the occurrence of fires and their destructive effects, it is imperative to empower the LGUs to retain 50 percent of the said collection proceeds to be used for upgrading equipment and facilities of their respective fire departments. The remaining 50 percent, however, will still be remitted to the National Treasury,” Rodriguez, a lawyer, said. Meanwhile his party-list congressman-brother said pursuant to Section 14 of Presidential Decree 1185, otherwise known as the Fire Code of the Philippines, LGUs are mandated to collect fire inspection fees from business establishments within their territories. In House Bill 2560, the siblings proposed the amendment of Section 14 of PD 1185 so that all taxes, fees and fines provided in Section 12 of PD 1185 shall be collected by the city or municipal treasurer. The bill provides that 50 percent of all such collections shall be set aside and retained by the city or municipal government concerned, which shall appropriate the amount exclusively for the use of its local fire station in the purchase of fire trucks, firefighting equipment, appliances or devices, and the maintenance thereof. Furthermore, the remaining 50 percent shall be remitted to the National Treasury. (30) rbb

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