By Azer Parrocha
MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday led the turnover of 74 new fire trucks to local government units, reminding drivers of all types of emergency vehicles to drive at a “normal” speed and use sirens to avoid road accidents.
“All you do is drive normally and switch on the siren para may malaman nagmamadali ka (so people would know you’re in a hurry),” Duterte said in a speech at the Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
Duterte recalled a past experience when he was still mayor in Davao City where a fire truck allegedly ran over a student from the University of Mindanao (UM).
He lamented how some emergency vehicle drivers felt like “they are already the owner of the streets.”
“May nangyari sa Davao sa UM na estudyante. Tapos itong bumbero akala (Something happened in Davao involving a UM student. Then this firefighter thought)— an emergency is an emergency. Even if it would kill your fellowmen, emergency ‘yan. So ‘yan ang nasa utak eh. Basta pahirit na lang nang pahirit (it’s still an emergency. So that’s their mindset. They just keep speeding up),” Duterte said.
“Nasagasaan nag — hindi niya nakita sa ano. Eh, paano nag-overtake sa right. So talagang nagalit ako. It was a waste of… Walang ka — karason-rason mamatay ‘yung tao (The student was run over—he did not see. The driver overtook to the right. So I really got angry. There was no reason for the person to die),” he added.
He said he had the firefighters undergo a lecture to remind them that amid life-threatening situations, they should not be involved in creating even more accidents.
“When you are behind the wheel and there is assistance for an emergency and you put on the blinker, it is not a license for you to just drive whatever the space in the streets may be,” Duterte said.
“Ang pinakahulugan ng siren is tumabi kayo kay may (The siren is already a signal to step aside because there’s an) emergency. You do not have to destroy properties or to kill. Tutal ‘yang siren na ‘yan (Those sirens) would put on notice publicly na may (that there’s an) emergency,” he added, noting that the same goes for other emergency vehicles.
New fire trucks
Meanwhile, Duterte expressed full support for the mandate of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to promote public safety by saving lives and protecting the property from destruction during natural and man-made disasters and other emergencies.
“I hope that with these fire trucks, the BFP will become more capable and effective in ensuring the safety of our communities and industries,” Duterte said.
“With these additional fire trucks and the recent increase in the salaries of uniformed personnel, the Filipino people expect you to become more dedicated, efficient and reliable in the performance of duties,” he added.
He also called on members of the BFP to ensure the corrupt-free conduct of fire safety inspections and the issuance of the fire safety inspection certifications. (PNA)