Of fire trailers and truck

THE fire trailers during inspection prior to turnover to the local government units in the West Zone by Maynilad Corporate Affairs and Communication Head Marie Antonette H. De Ocampo, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System Administrator Leonor Cleofas, Maynilad president and CEO Ramoncito S. Fernandez, and Maynilad chief operating officer Randolph T. Estrellado. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF MAYNILAD

Fire and water shortage are common problems during summer in the Philippines. A dual solution to these issues come from Maynilad Water Services Inc. and humanitarian organization Tzu Chi Foundation in the Philippines.

The largest private water concessionaire in the Philippines serving Metro Manila’s West Zone started distributing an initial five units of 1,000-liter capacity fire trailers, one each to the cities of Caloocan, Parañaque, Las Piñas, Navotas and Muntinlupa.

“We had these fire trailers built specifically for densely populated areas that are difficult to reach via ordinary fire trucks and where fire can easily spread. Arming the LGUs with these fire trailers is a proactive step towards ensuring the well-being of residents and safeguarding against potential fire incidents,” said Maynilad chief operating officer Randolph T. Estrellado during the recent inspection of the trailers before turnover to the recipients. 

Fire trailers are particularly designed for overcrowded areas with narrow streets and alleys that fire trucks cannot reach, thus allowing for rapid response to fire incidents in densely populated communities.

The trailers are equipped with a 20-meter fire hose with adjustable nozzle, solar lights, and five-horse power pump that can boost water up to at least 70 feet, which can reach the seventh floor of a building. It is also lightweight and can easily be pushed by three to four persons.

Complementing the fire trailers are Maynilad’s over 5,000 fire hydrants spread throughout its 7,287-kilometer distribution system in the West Zone, which is composed of parts of the cities of Manila and Quezon City, Makati (west of South Super Highway), Caloocan, Pasay, Parañaque, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Valenzuela, Navotas and Malabon all in Metro Manila; the cities of Cavite, Bacoor and Imus, and the towns of Kawit, Noveleta and Rosario, all in Cavite province.

Water shortage

Meanwhile, the dry season spells water shortage for the Tzu Chi Ormoc’s (TCO) Great Love Village (GLV) in Ormoc, Leyte. The residents’ only source of water supply, the deep wells, would run dry at this time of the year, forcing them to travel far to downtown areas to fetch for water.

Living for seven years in the Great Love Village, elderly residents Lilia Trongcoso, 66, and husband Carlos, 60, initially had to go through the ordeal during water shortages.

“The problem we have right now here in the village is that our wells are empty. Because of the extreme heat, it’s completely dry” Lilia said. “It’s very difficult. Without Tzu Chi, we wouldn’t know what to do. We are so grateful for the water Tzu Chi provides” she added.

Jhona Quipu, another resident, would fetch clean water in the city that is nearly a 30-minute commute from the GLV. But now, the hope of a water source from the Tzu Chi fire truck had brought a glimmer of optimism to her and the rest of the residents.

TCO partnered with the Ormoc Waterworks System Administration to ration water to different communities through the Tzu Chi fire truck. Since the village experienced water scarcity the past weeks, the fire truck started supplying residents with tons of water without delivery charge.

TCO also hired a pedicab to deliver collected water to their homes, easing the burden of carrying heavy loads especially for elderly residents.

The Tzu Chi fire truck also served its actual purpose since it was donated to TCO. It quickly responded to the Da Ai Village fire in 2021 and the recent Barangay Cogon, Ormoc City blaze on 22 February 2024.

Tzu Chi founder Master Cheng Yen had taught people that communities can overcome even the toughest of situations by working together and being kind to one another. “When faced with difficulties, it is important to come together and support each other. This spirit of giving can guide us towards a better, more caring future,” was her advice.