There are 15,320 fire hydrants in the Philippines but 1,845 of these are out of commission and 113 are under repair, Bureau of Fire Protection Supt. Renato Marcial disclosed to GMA7’s “24 Oras” Wednesday.
According to Marcial, hundreds of these fire hydrants cannot be used during emergencies because most have been tampered and stolen.
“Ang ibang mga fire hydrants ay nagde-deteriorate na because of wear and tear. Yung iba, because of pilferage, may mga ninanakaw na mga takip ng ating mga hydrants, ang iba ay natatabunan ng mga basura,” Marcial said in the report.
Under Republic Act 9514 or the Fire Code of the Philippines, persons who tamper with fire hydrants or interrupt fire lanes will be slapped a fine of P12,500 to P25,000 and jail time of six months.
Despite this, unscrupulous individuals still pilfer parts of fire hydrants. Even the measure of locking fire hydrants in underground holes to prevent tampering proved useless.
On Monday evening, a fire at the Parola Compound in Tondo, Manila lasted for 12 hours, leaving 10,000 families homeless. Tampered fire hydrants are among the reasons BFP cited for the firefighters’ inability to respond quickly to the incident.
With this, Marcial appealed to the public, “Magkaisa tayo kasi buhay at ari-arian yung pinag-uusapan dito. ‘Pag walang tubig, pano pa naman makaka-apula ng apoy ‘yung bumbero” he said in the report.