[ Act No. 3321, December 04, 1926 ]
AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE THE ORGANIZATION OF AN ADEQUATE FIRE DEPARTMENT IN THE MUNICIPALITIES, PRESCRIBE THE QUALIFICATIONS OF THE PERSONNEL THEREOF, AND ESTABLISH THE PROCEDURE FOR THE SUSPENSION AND REMOVAL OF SAID PERSONNEL, AMENDING FOR THESE PURPOSES ARTICLE TWELVE OF CHAPTER FIFTY-SEVEN, TITLE NINE, OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE CODE.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Legislature assembled and by the authority of the same:
SECTION 1. Article Twelve of Chapter Fifty-seven, Title Nine, of the Administrative Code is hereby amended to read as follows:
"ARTICLE XII.— Protection against fire
"SEC. 2277. Organization of fire department.— In municipalities having an organized paid fire department or planning to organize one, there shall be a chief and the necessary force of firemen whose number shall be fixed by the municipal council, with the approval of the provincial board. The fire department so organized shall be regularly instructed, exercised, and trained in the duties and work of firemen not less than three times a week or as much oftener as may be necessary to reach and maintain proficiency in its duties and the use of the apparatus furnished for its use. Such department shall be regularly inspected as to drill, equipment, and efficiency by the provincial governor upon his semiannual visits to the municipalities.
"SEC. 2277-A. Regulations for government of municipal fire department.— The Director of Public Works and the Chief of Constabulary shall, with the approval of the Department Heads concerned, jointly prepare and issue general regulations for the government, proper discipline, and inspection of the municipal fire departments, the observance of which shall be obligatory for all members of the organization. These regulations shall be translated into Spanish. Each municipal council may, with the approval of the provincial board, issue such secondary regulations for the government of the local fire department as shall not be inconsistent with law or with the general regulations. .
"SEC. 2277-B. Salaries of members of municipal fire department.— Chiefs of municipal fire departments shall receive pay at a rate to be fixed by the municipal council, but not to exceed one hundred and fifty pesos a month; the other members of the department shall be paid at a rate not to exceed fifty pesos a month, to be fixed in the same manner.
"SEC. 2277-C. Reimbursement of expenses to firemen I going outside limits of municipality.— Members of the municipal fire department who are required to leave the municipality on official business shall have their necessary expenses reimbursed to them upon proper vouchers.
"SEC. 2277-D. Appointment of members of municipal fire department.&mdashThe chief of the municipal fire department and other members of the organization shall be appointed by the president, with the consent of the municipal council. In case of disagreement between the president and the municipal council concerning the appointment of the chief of the fire department, and if such disagreement shall still exist three months after the president submitted said appointment, the provincial board shall decide the matter and its decision shall be final.
"SEC. 2277-E. Firemen's examining board.— In each province there shall be a firemen's examining board which shall be composed of a member of the provincial board designated by the latter, the district engineer, and the provincial commander of the Philippine Constabulary. The member of the provincial board so designated and the secretary of said board shall act as chairman and secretary, respectively, of the firemen's examining board. The chairman of the firemen's examining board shall be entitled to necessary traveling expenses from his residence to the place where the examination is held, and vice versa, and to a per diem equal to that which he receives as member of the provincial board, for each day of session of the firemen's examining board. These expenses shall be paid out of provincial funds.
"SEC. 2277-F. Date of examinations.— An examination for admission to the fire service shall be held in each of province in the month of January or June of each year, in the discretion of the firemen's examining board; and it shall be the duty of each secretary, upon authorization by his board and on such date as the same may determine, to give public notice of the place, day, and hour of such examination.
"SEC. 2277-G. Examination manual.— The Director of Public Works and the Chief of Constabulary shall, with the approval of the Department Heads concerned, jointly prepare and issue an examination manual prescribing how said examinations shall be conducted, what subjects they shall cover, and what averages or ratings must be obtained in said subjects.
"SEC. 2277-H. Qualifications for examination for service.— In order to be eligible for examination, an applicant must have the following qualifications:(1) Be a native of the Philippine Islands;
(2) Be from twenty-one to forty years old;
(3) Be of good repute;
(4) Have a good physical constitution;
(5) Have no contagious disease;
(6) Have no criminal record;
(7) Not have been expelled or dishonorably discharged from any civil or military office or position;
(8) Be able to read and write English or Spanish; and
(9) Be able to read and write with perfection the local dialect.
"SEC. 2277-1. Certificate of physical fitness.— No person shall be admitted to the examination herein provided for without the proper certificate of physical fitness, unless for good reasons the examining board shall, in its discretion, waive this requisite, in which case the physical examination can be made later. But no person shall have his name placed on the eligible list until such certificate has been produced.
"The physical examination shall be made by the physician of the municipal district to whom the chairman of the board shall give the necessary orders therefor, designating the place and clay when it is to be made.
"SEC. 2277-J. Eligible list.— The examining board shall keep a record with the names, residences, and examination ratings of the residents of each municipality who have passed the fireman's examination and are not incapacitated for the fire service. This record shall be the eligible list of that particular municipality. A general list of a similar character shall also be kept which shall contain the names of all the eligibles in the province. Copies of both lists shall be furnished to each municipality of the province.
"SEC. 2277-K. Appointments to be made from eligible lists.— The appointments for the fire department shall in all cases be made from the municipal eligible list if there are persons in said list willing to serve; otherwise they shall be made from the general list.
"Persons who have voluntarily left the service and desire to reenter the same may be reappointed within one year's time, without reexamination.
"SEC. 2277-L. Suspension and removal of members of municipal fire department.— Members of the municipal fire department cannot be dismissed and, except in case of resignation, can only be removed for misconduct or incompetency, dishonesty, disloyalty to the Governments of the United States or the Philippine Islands, serious irregularities in the service or violations of the law or of their duty, in which cases charges shall be preferred under oath by the municipal president or any other person and shall be. heard by the municipal council or by a committee of three councilors appointed for this purpose by the majority of the council, which committee shall hold public hearings and give the accused an opportunity to defend himself. In all proceedings against a member of the municipal fire department, the accused shall be furnished a copy of the charges preferred by the municipal president, which shall be delivered to him personally or sent by registered mail, not later than five days after the filing of the charges, and the council or committee of the council shall proceed to the investigation of the case not later than ten days after the accused was notified of the charges, unless said accused, for good reasons shown, requests further time for preparing his defense. The hearing of the case shall be completed within a reasonable time, and if the case is tried by a committee, the latter shall present its report and recommendation to the council not later than ten days after the conclusion of the trial, and the council shall decide the case not later than fifteen days after receipt of the report of the committee. If the case is tried by the council itself, the latter shall render a decision not later than fifteen days after the conclusion of the trial. From the decision of the council, an appeal shall lie in all cases to the provincial board. The appellant shall exercise this right by presenting a written appeal to the municipal president not later than fifteen days after having received notice of the decision, and if an appeal is not presented within said period, the decision shall be final. In case of appeal, the municipal president shall transmit the record with all its documents to the provincial board, not later than twenty days after receiving the appeal, and the provincial board shall make the investigation de novo and render a decision not later than thirty days after the date on which it received the record, and its decision shall be final and conclusive.
"When charges under this section are preferred against a member of the municipal fire department, the municipal president may suspend the accused. Such suspension shall not extend over more than thirty days. If the case has not been finally decided within such thirty days, the accused, if suspended, shall ipso facto be reinstated, without prejudice to the prosecution of the case to a final decision, unless the delay in the proceedings is due to the fault, neglect or request of the accused, in which case the period of the delay shall not be counted in computing the period of the suspension herein referred to.
"When a chief or member of the municipal fire department is accused in court by the provincial fiscal of a crime or violation of the law, the municipal president shall forthwith suspend the accused from his position while the case is pending decision by the courts of justice, and in case of acquittal, the accused shall be entitled to the payment of the entire salary he failed to receive while suspended, if so stated by the court in its sentence.
"Noncompliance with the provisions of this section shall make the guilty officers liable to such disciplinary measures as the Chief of the Executive Bureau may impose, and said Chief may also issue the necessary order to immediately drop the proceedings against any accused.
"SEC. 2277-M. Salary for period of suspension of men her of municipal fire department.— No member of a municipal fire department suspended from office while charges preferred against him were pending investigation shall receive salary during such suspension, but if he is exonerated or reinstated the council may order the payment of all or part of his salary during the period of his suspension.
"SEC. 2277-N. Saving clause.— The provisions of section twenty-one hundred eighty-eight of this Code, as amended by Act Numbered Thirty-one hundred and sixty-seven, section twenty-two hundred and one, as amended by Act Numbered Thirty-one hundred and fifteen, and section twenty-two hundred and forty-three, paragraph (a), shall not be applicable to chiefs or members of municipal fire departments.
"SEC. 2277-0. Police force constituting fire department— Discipline.— In all municipalities having no paid men fire department it shall be the duty of all officers and members of the police force to act as firemen, and the police force of each such municipality shall constitute a fire department and be regularly instructed, exercised, and trained in the duties and work of firemen by its officers under thedirection and supervision of the municipal president, with such assistance as he may require from the municipal councilors. The entire police force, as such fire department, shall be drilled in its practical duties not less than once in each week or as much oftener as may be necessary to reach and maintain proficiency in its duties and the use of the apparatus furnished for its use. Such departments shall be regularly inspected as to drill, equipment, and efficiency by the provincial governor upon his semiannual visits to the municipalities.
"SEC. 2278. Provision for fire-fighting apparatus.— Each municipality shall provide equipment and apparatus for protection against fire, which shall at no time consist of less than twenty-four fire buckets, twelve ladders of suitable lengths, six ropes with hooks attached, of suitable size and length, twenty-four bolos, twelve axes, and one two-man cross-cut saw, and such additional or other apparatus as may be considered necessary by the municipal council and approved by the provincial board. All apparatus shall be kept in such place or places as may be designated by the municipal council, where it shall be conveniently available and shall be kept and maintained in order and constant readiness for instant use. Such apparatus shall not be used except in case of fire or fire drills. Whenever the size or importance of any barrio shall demand fire apparatus similar in kind and amount to that above prescribed, it may be furnished by the municipality and kept in such barrio, as above prescribed. The provincial board May require any municipality to purchase and provide for the maintenance of such additional apparatus as it may deem necessary.
"SEC. 2279. Auxiliary volunteer firemen.— The municipal council may provide for the enrollment and training of auxiliary volunteer firemen among the able-bodied male residents of the municipality, in a number not to exceed that of the police of the municipality, who shall be entitled to the privilege granted by this section, and where the number of the police is less than ten, a number of volunteer firemen not to exceed ten may be appointed.
"Such volunteers shall, upon joining, obligate themselves to attend fire drills of not less than one hour at least once a week and to report to their officers immediately in case of fire and to obey the lawful orders of such officers at all drills and fires. They shall be divided into subdivisions and attached, by the chief of police, for drill and fire purposes, to the divisions or subdivisions of the police force nearest their respective residences. They shall, while members of such department, be supplied with appropriate metal badges of membership, which shall remain the property of the municipality. Should fire helmets or uniforms be provided for the fire department by the municipality, they shall be supplied therewith for use while in such service, and they may, should they desire, purchase the same for their individual use at cost.
"The commanding officer of each division or subdivision shall keep a record of the attendance at drills and fires of each volunteer in his command and at the end of each calendar year shall issue to each such volunteer who has attended seventy-five per centum of all drills and fires during the year, a certificate showing such fact and that he has drilled at least one hour at each drill attended, and such certificate, when presented to the provincial treasurer, or his deputy in the municipality, shall entitle the person named therein to be paid, from the funds of the municipality, a sum equal to the amount paid by such person as cedula tax for the year covered by said certificate.
"SEC. 2280. Social organization.— Auxiliary volunteer firemen may, at their pleasure, organize for social purposes and their organization shall be granted the use of public buildings for social purposes at such times and to such extent as may, in the judgment of the municipal council, be consistent with the public interests.
"SEC. 2281. Authority to call upon inhabitants to aid in fighting fire.— The municipal president and chief of police are authorized to call upon any able-bodied citizen, inhabitant, or sojourner within the municipality, to aid in extinguishing any fire therein, and any such person so called upon shall be subject to the orders of the municipal president and the chief of police during such fire."
SEC. 2. All acts and provisions of law inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed.
SEC. 3. This Act shall take effect on its approval.
Approved, December 4, 1926.