by Nicole Melisse A. Campos and Geraldine L. Brotonel
Bayanihan calls to mind people helping each other and working together in times of need. This has been seen at work in many instances in various Philippine villages in times of disaster and in times of peace.
In Barangay Tuntungin-Putho, bayanihan proved useful to help put out fire one evening.
The Los Baños Fire Station (LBFS) received a phone call on Jan. 27, 7:46 pm from the Los Baños Municipal Action Center regarding a fire in progress at Purok 6, Barangay Tuntungin-Putho The fire reportedly started at the house of Eliseo and Mercedez Bueza.
When the LBFS got to the scene, the sight that greeted them was of fire trucks from the International Rice Research Institute and Barangay Batong Malake and the residents passing buckets of water to help the firefighters put out the fire.
LBFS Ground commander Nilo B. Lomitao declared the fire under control by 8:03 pm; 15 minutes later, it was officially “fire out.”
According to SFO1 Manuel Lyndon S. Estenor, chief of the LBFS Investigation and Intelligence Unit, the people of Barangay Tuntungin-Putho already knew what to do even before the firefighters arrived. He said that they underwent training under the Oplan Ligtas Pamayanan Program (OLP), which was conducted in April 2019.
“’Nung nagkasunog, alam na nila [mga residente] yung gagawin nila. Walang nadamay na bahay… Equipped yung mga tao ng knowledge na itinuro ng aking mga kasamahan na mag-bucket relay. Habang binobomba nung iba yung apoy, binobombahan—pinalalamig nila yung mga adjacent houses,” SFO1 Estenor explained.
(When the fire started, they [residents] already knew what to do. No neighboring house was affected… People were equipped with the knowledge that my colleagues taught them which was the bucket relay. As they were putting out flames — they cooled the adjacent houses.)
The water bucket relay is one strategy taught in the OLP to keep domestic fires at bay.
The OLP is a program conducted by the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP). It is a series of training and seminars aimed at the prevention and mitigation of man-made disasters and natural hazards. It consists of four sub-programs:
- Handang Pamayanan Program, which provides a community fire protection plan including a hazard evaluation, hazard elimination and tactical defense;
- Bayanihan Program or Brigada ng bayan tungo sa ligtas na tahanan at pamayanan, which trains the skills of all barangay volunteer fire brigades by means of fixing its structure in the Community Fire Auxiliary Groups; they will serve as the first responders’ unit in times of emergencies.
- Kaagapay Program or ang katuwang at gabay sa ligtas na pamamahay at pamayanan, which provides good relationship between firefighters and the community; each firefighter has their own area of responsibility
- Lingap Program or ang pangkaligtasan na pagsisiyasat at pagbibigay alam sa bawat tahanan, which practices house-to-house fire safety survey to all high hazard areas in the community.
OLP is a national program inaugurated by the Director for Fire Safety and Enforcement Senior Superintendent Gilbert Dolot.
BFP Los Baños has successfully conducted the OLP Program at Barangay Putho-Tuntungin and Barangay Bambang. Last Feb. 1, the local government of Barangay Mayondon expressed interest in the conduct of OLP in their area. A series of training and seminars were laid out for the prevention and mitigation of man-made disasters and natural hazards. The BFP has already started inspecting areas and surveying the residents.
FOI 1 Ricardo Culvera Jr. said that the Bureau targets to conduct an annual OLP at all barangays in the country until 2045 to enable communities to prevent and suppress destructive fires while enforcing fire code laws.
All Barangays are required to conduct the OLP annually. If your barangay has yet to hold the OLP, you can reach BFP Los Baños at (049) 536-7695.