Pasay City — Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Thursday, December 12, pushed for the planned modernization of the country’s firefighters during his attendance of the Bureau of Fire Protection’s (BFP) 46th Fire Service Recognition Day as guest of honor.
With the theme “Bumbero Dakila Ka: Isang Natatanging Pagkilala sa mga Makabagong Bayani”, the Fire Service Recognition Day is celebrated annually to commemorate the firefighters who lost their lives in the Rockwell Power Plant fire incident on the 14th of December 1973.
In his message, the senator eagerly shared the increased budget for the BFP to further reinforce their capabilities and enhance their service to the country. Go also expressed his full support to the modernization efforts of the BFP.
“Suportado ko po ang hangarin ng administrasyon ni Pangulong Duterte na i-modernize ang hanay ng BFP. Kaya naman, sa mahigit 22 billion budget ng BFP ngayong 2020, nagdagdag po tayo sa Senado ng mahigit 232 million pesos during the (bicameral conference) para makabili ang BFP ng additional fire trucks,” the senator said at the BFP National Headquarters, Agham Road, Quezon City.
Go also thanked the firefighters for their continued support for him and the President, saying, “Maraming salamat sa suporta ninyo ni Pangulong Duterte. Handa po akong magserbisyo. Kahit saang eskinita ng Pilipinas, papasukin basta kaya ng panahon.”
Expressing his admiration for the firefighters for risking their lives in line of service to keep Filipinos safe, the senator said, “Sa totoo lang, hindi ko po mapigilang bumilib sa tuwing nakakakita ako ng mga bumbero. Iba po talaga ang dating ng mga taong handang itaya ang kanilang buhay sa bawat pagkakataong mayroong sunog o sakuna sa isang lugar.”
“Sila ang unang sumusuong sa panganib at rumiresponde tuwing may sakuna at kalamidad. Nasasakripisyo, hindi lamang ang kanilang mga buhay kundi pati na rin ang kanilang panahon na makapiling ang kanilang mga pamilya—dahil sa gawaing ito, walang kinikilalang oras ang trabaho. Bente-kwatro oras ang pagseserbisyo ng pagiging isang bumbero,” he added.
A known advocate for better fire prevention efforts in the country, Go stated that he has filed a measure in the Senate seeking to intensify the government’s capabilities against deadly fire incidents by modernizing the fire protection bureau.
“Gusto kong ipaalam sa inyo na kaagapay ninyo ako sa inyong mga hangarin. Bilang mambabatas, nai-file ko na sa Senado ang Senate Bill 204 o ang Fire Protection Modernization Bill. Isa ito sa sampung priority bills na inuna kong pinasa noong Hulyo,” Go said, to the delight of the audience. He added that the government is planning to add 64 more fire trucks in 2020 to the bureau’s current fleet.
The Fire Protection Modernization Act of 2019 provides for the modernization of the BFP with the adoption of a Fire Protection Modernization Program.
The program will include the hiring of more personnel, acquisition of modern fire equipment and trainings for firefighters, among others, all designed to suppress all kinds of destructive fires and prevent deaths and injuries.
Under the proposed measure, BFP will also be mandated to conduct monthly fire prevention campaigns and information drive in all LGUs, particularly in informal settler areas and economically depressed areas.
“It is high time that we upgrade the facilities and capabilities of the Bureau of Fire Protection. Let us add more services and hire more men and women who would dare to become the respected and admired firemen and women of our nation,” said Go, adding that he will push for the arming of firefighters so they can also help the government in its campaign against illegal drugs and criminality.
“I will study and check, nabanggit na rin ni Pangulo ang arming of firefighters. Makakatulong din sila sa paglaban ng kriminalidad at proteksyunan ang kanilang mga sarili. Pati sa kampanya laban sa droga, makakatulong din sila,” said Go in an interview.
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Assistant Secretary Alexander Macario suggested to the senator to allocate certain funds for the firefighters wounded in line of duty.
Go in response, assured that he will recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte to set aside such budget for the country’s firefighting force to reciprocate their noble service to the victims of fire incidents. The Senator suggests that firefighters who are killed or wounded while performing their duties be given benefits similar to what are provided to other uniformed personnel, such as soldiers and the police.
If approved, BFP personnel who are wounded or killed while in the performance of their duty will be entitled to the same benefits granted under the Comprehensive Social Benefits Program (CSBP). Introduced by President Duterte last 2017, CSBP grants certain benefits to the members or families of police, military and CAFGU personnel who are wounded or killed in action. Personnel of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology as well as the Philippine Coast Guard will also be covered should the President sign an executive order.
“Proud ako dahil nakakatulong tayo. Kayo, nakakaligtas ng buhay, ‘di mo matiis na hindi mapakinggan ang kanilang hinanaing,” Go said. “Wala silang kuryente, walang pagkain, walang uniform, walang libro, ‘yun ang una kong inaasikaso. Iba ‘yung ngiti na naiiwan mo sa panahon ng dalamhati.”
To ensure the safety and comfort of fire and other disaster victims, Go also expressed his desire to push for a measure that will mandate the establishment of permanent evacuation centers in the country as part of better disaster prevention and mitigation efforts of the government.
Ending his speech, Go urged the country’s firefighters to continue serving the nation with honor and dignity. He added, “More importantly, may you always serve with all of your heart. That is how President Rodrigo Duterte and I serve this country.”
“Gusto kong muling ipaalala sa inyo ang aking tauspusong pasasalamat at paghanga sa inyong serbisyo. Wala na atang mas hihigit pa kundi sa pag-alay ng ating mga sarili para sa ating mga kababayan at sa ating bansa,” he ended.
Stay updated with news and updates from the Office of Senator Bong Go by visiting their website at http://kuyabonggo.ph.