Isko: probe fire volunteer's 'violations'

Isko Moreno
Mayor Isko Moreno orders MDRRMO chief Arnel Angeles to probe the alleged violations of a fire volunteer. Other photo shows the UN Paco Fire & Rescue Volunteer firetruck which had no license plate when spotted by People’s Tonight. Photos by JERRY S. TAN

MANILA Mayor Isko Moreno has directed Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (MDRRMO) chief Arnel Angeles to order an investigation into the reported violation of rules governing operations of fire volunteer organizations allegedly committed by a member of the UN Paco Fire Volunteer & Rescue.

Acting on the directive, Angeles said he has already coordinated with the Office of Civil Defense under whose jurisdiction a group called CIDAG falls. The UN Paco Fire Volunteer & Rescue group is said to be under CIDAG.

According to Angeles, CIDAG chair Nikki Salcedo has also summoned the people involved as part of its own probe.

Angeles particularly noted that in the said news reports, the firetruck belonging to the said group was plateless and had been and sounding its siren even though it was not responding to any fire or emergency.

The firetruck was also left parked along United Nations Avenue in front of a barangay hall under Barangay 664-A which is right on the sidewalk.

Barangay halls are not allowed to be on  the sidewalks which is meant to be for the use of pedestrians.

Angeles added that under the regulations, volunteer firetrucks are supposed to bear licensed plates and are allowed to park only in front of their own headquarters and not anywhere else. He is also looking into information from his staff that that while the firetruck bears the name ‘UN Paco Fire Volunteer,’ its headquarters is located in Sta. Mesa.

Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau (MTPB) chief Dennis Viaje said UN Avenue is a designated ‘Mabuhay Lane’ and as such, parking is not allowed on both sides, at any time. m

Viaje added that not even firetrucks are exempted from the prohibition, unless responding to a fire situation in the area.

It will be recalled that a around 1:30 p.m. last June 24, the said red firetruck nearly hit a vehicle of People’s Tonight that had just gone out of the Robinson’s Mall in Otis, United Nations Avenue.

People’s Tonight followed the truck, thinking that it was responding to a fire incident but it merely parked along UN Avenue.

While this reporter was taking a video, a man came out of the hall of Barangay 664-A and arrogantly asked what the problem was.      When told that the truck was unnecessarily speeding complete with siren even though it was not responding to a fire in ident and had nearly hit a vehicle, the man said they were in a hurry and that he had no problem even if the incident was reported by media.

The said man and his companion were not wearing face masks, which is a clear violation of Ordinance 8627 enacted by the city council in April and which carries fines or imprisonment or both, depending on the court’s discretion.

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) has also made wearing of face masks mandatory when one goes out of his residence.

Earlier, Department of the Interior and Local Governments (DILG) Undersecretary for barangay affairs Martin Dino ordered a probe into the firetruck’s violation abuse of the privileges being accorded fire volunteers.

Dino also said he is also looking into the information that the said truck parks along the United Nations Avenue which is a no-parking area since it is a declared ‘Mabuhay Lane.’  The DILG had been clearing such lanes to ease traffic congestion.

The Manila Police District (MPD) observes the same prohibition, as it bars officers and members from parking along the said avenue. Reporters covering the Manila beat, whose office is located along UN Avenue, also comply with the said prohibition.

Dino also said that barangay halls are not supposed to occupy sidewalks, since these are also being cleared of any obstruction.

Also being looked into is the information that the said firetruck, had no licensed plate number which means it is not yet registered, was overspeeding and had used a siren even though it was not responding to any fire incident, which are all violations under the set rules among fire volunteers.