SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go stressed anew the importance of strengthening the Bureau of Fire Protection to better respond to fire incidents and other disasters nationwide.
The senator made the remark in a video call during the relief operations mounted by his office on Friday, January 28, for 227 families, composed of 1,014 individuals, whose houses were damaged by a fire incident in Barangay Wawa, Batangas City a week earlier.
Go expressed confidence that BFP will soon be better equipped and capable as one of the lead agencies in disaster and emergency responses, following the implementation of Republic Act 11589 or the BFP Modernization Act. Go is the principal author and co-sponsor of Senate Bill No. 1832 on which the law was based.
Under the 10-year modernization program mandated by the Act, BFP is expected to transform into a modern and world-class institution through the acquisition and upgrading of fire equipment, recruiting of more personnel, and provision of specialized training for firefighters, among others.
It likewise directs the BFP to conduct monthly fire prevention campaigns and information drives in every local government unit, in partnership with the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
Go’s team conducted the activity at Brgy. Wawa Covered Court where they distributed meals, financial assistance, food packs, vitamins and masks. They also gave new pairs of shoes, bicycles, and computer tablets to select individuals.
Meanwhile, several government agencies were also present to provide separate assistance to the victims.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development extended additional cash assistance to each affected family while the Department of Health gave away assorted medicines and vitamins.
In addition, the National Housing Authority provided housing assistance to the victims. The Department of Trade and Industry, in turn, evaluated potential recipients of its livelihood grants.
“Ang lolo at lola ko po ay diyan nanggaling sa Sto. Tomas. Kaya po gusto ko po talaga na makapunta diyan nung nabalitaan ko na kayo po ay nasunugan. Ngunit unahin muna natin ang kaligtasan ng bawat isa,” Go, an adopted son of CALABARZON, shared during his video call.
“Saksi ako sa hinagpis na nararamdaman ng mga biktima ng sunog. Kada buwan, ilang komunidad ang ating binibisita sa iba’t ibang panig ng bansa upang makapagbigay ng tulong,” he continued.
As Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, Go offered additional assistance to those with medical concerns and advised them to visit the Malasakit Centers at Batangas Medical Center in Batangas City and Batangas Provincial Hospital in Lemery.
The Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop where concerned agencies, such as the DSWD, DOH, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, are brought together under one roof to provide necessary assistance to poor and indigent patients. The program was institutionalized through the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, which Go primarily authored and sponsored in the Senate.
“Ang target po ng Malasakit Center ay zero balance po para wala na kayong babayaran sa inyong pagpapaospital. Batas na po ‘yan, isinulong ko noon, pinirmahan ni Pangulong (Rodrigo) Duterte. Para po ‘yan sa poor and indigent patients. Lapitan n’yo lang po ang Malasakit Center diyan po sa inyong lugar,” he reassured.
He also took the opportunity to encourage eligible residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19, saying, “Ingat kayo at magpabakuna po kayo. Kung hindi pa po kayo bakunado, magpabakuna na po kayo. Libre po ito galing sa gobyerno.”
The senator then expressed his gratitude towards the local officials of Batangas City for supporting the affected families and making sure they recover from the damages.
“Sa kapwa kong Batangueño, kung ano po maitutulong ko sa inyo ay magsabi lang ho kayo at andito lang po ako handang maglingkod. Maraming salamat po at mahal na mahal ko po kayo,” Go ended.
To help boost the economic growth of the province, Go has also supported several projects as Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, including the construction of multipurpose buildings in Alitagtag, Balayan, Batangas City, Ibaan, Lemery, Lipa City, Mabini, Nasugbu, San Jose, San Juan, San Luis, San Nicolas, Santo Tomas and Taal; concretion of farm-to-market roads in Agoncillo, Calaca, Laurel, Nasugbu and Tuy; acquisition of ambulance units in Ibaan and Lemery; and acquisition of multipurpose vehicles in Lipa City and San Juan.
He also supported the construction of slope protection structures in Batangas City, San Jose and San Juan; construction and rehabilitation of flood control structures in Batangas City and San Juan; rehabilitation of the public market in Cuenca; rehabilitation of Dr. Ernesto Malabanan Memorial Hospital in Tanauan City; and improvement of public parks in San Nicolas.
Last month, Go’s outreach team distributed similar aid to vulnerable sectors in Lipa City, Laurel, and Sta. Teresita.
Senate OKs Bong Go-sponsored local hospital bills on 2nd reading
SENATOR Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, chair of the Senate Committee on Health, highlighted the urgent need to upgrade health facilities across the country as fifteen of his sponsored local hospital bills aimed at improving, developing, and establishing public hospitals have passed the second reading in the Senate on January 28.
“Kailangan nating palakasin pa ang ating health care system dahil hindi natin alam kung ilang pandemya pa ang darating. Huwag po nating hintayin na tuluyan nang bumigay ang healthcare system natin at malagay sa panganib ang buhay ng ating mga kababayan,” he added.
In a previous speech, Go pointed out that improving and establishing hospitals run by the national government should not be treated as a burden but an investment, noting, “Dahil sa huli, kapag hindi yan nagawa ng LGU, national government din ang sasalo sa problemang iyan.”
The proposed measures seek to convert the Cotabato Sanitarium in Sultan Kudarat town in Maguindanao as a general hospital to be known as the Cotabato Sanitarium and General Hospital; the Sulu Sanitarium in Jolo into a General Hospital to be known as the Sulu Sanitarium and General Hospital; and the Western Visayas Sanitarium in Santa Barbara, Iloilo into a General Hospital to be known as the Western Visayas Sanitarium and General Hospital. All measures provide for the corresponding increase in bed capacities of said hospitals.
In addition, some of the measures aim to upgrade the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital in Legazpi City, Albay into a general and subspecialty hospital to be known as the Bicol Regional Hospital and Medical Center; and the Don Jose S. Monfort Medical Center Extension Hospital in Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo into a tertiary hospital to be known as the Don Jose S. Monfort Medical Center.
He also sponsored bills to increase the bed capacity of several hospitals, including Dr. Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija from 400 to 1,000 beds; Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center in San Fernando City, La Union from 300 to 800 beds; Northern Mindanao Medical Center in Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental from 600 to 1,200 beds; and Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City from 1,200 to 1,500 beds.
Finally, the new Department of Health hospitals to be established under Go’s sponsored measures include the Ilocos Sur Medical Center in Candon City, Samar Island Medical Center in Calbayog City, Southern Luzon Multispecialty Medical Center in Tayabas, Quezon Province, Northwestern Cagayan General Hospital in Cagayan, Joni Villanueva General Hospital in Bulacan, and Northeastern Misamis General Hospital in Misamis Oriental.
In his sponsorship speech delivered on January 25, Go stressed the importance of upgrading existing hospitals and establishing new ones, especially in the countryside where they are most needed.
“Sa pandemyang ito, nakita natin kung gaano kahalaga ang investment sa kalusugan. Nahihirapan tayo ngayon dahil hindi natin ito binigyan ng pansin nitong nagdaang mga dekada. Kaya ngayon, nagkulang ang ating mga ospital, kama at equipment para labanan ang pandemya,” noted Go.
“Kailangan din nating palakasin pa ito dahil hindi natin alam kung ilang pandemya pa ang darating. Huwag po nating hintayin na tuluyan nang bumigay ang healthcare system natin at malagay sa panganib ang buhay ng ating mga kababayan,” he added.
Go also reiterated the need to constantly improve the country’s healthcare system especially amid the threat of COVID-19 and its variants.
“Sa gitna ng naglalabasang COVID-19 variants, dapat palagi nating palakasin pa ang ating healthcare system. Bago pa man ang pandemya, kulang na po ang mga kama sa mga pampublikong ospital,” said the senator.
“Kailangan po ng suporta ng ating mga kababayan. Hindi natin pwedeng pabayaan ang mga nangangailangan,” he stressed.
As Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Go has already spearheaded the passage of 24 local hospital laws improving and establishing new hospitals.