Bong Go sends aid to Cebu fire victims
The Manila Times
SEN. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go sent his team to Cordova and Mandaue City, Cebu on Tuesday, August 2, to check on the situation and provide aid to 33 fire-hit households. Acknowledging the hardships and challenges of the families affected by the fire, Go, in his video message, vowed to continue exerting his best efforts to help them recover and rebuild their lives. The senator then underscored the importance of continuing former president Rodrigo Duterte’s fight against illegal drugs, corruption and criminality for the future of the country. He also noted that if not for the pandemic, the country would have attained more sustainable and significant economic development. Go also expressed his appreciation towards all of the uniformed personnel who continue to play a crucial role in the government’s campaign against illegal drugs and criminality. Even before becoming senator, Go, who was then the special assistant to Duterte, was instrumental in pushing for the salary increase of all uniformed personnel. In 2018, Duterte signed Joint Resolution 1 which increased the base pay of all military and other uniformed personnel in the government. In recognition of their immeasurable service to ensure peace and order, the resolution doubled the base pay of a Police Officer 1 in the Philippine National Police, Private in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and their equivalent ranks in the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine Public Safety College, Philippine Coast Guard, and National Mapping and Resource Information Authority. Go’s team mounted the relief activities at Cordova Municipal Hall and Subangdaku Elementary School in Mandaue City where his team handed grocery packs, masks, vitamins, snacks and shirts to the fire victims. They also gave away phablets and balls for volleyball and basketball to select individuals. Representatives from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) also provided separate financial aid to each affected family while the National Housing Authority assessed the needs of the fire victims and committed to extend necessary housing assistance. Moreover, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority conducted on-site assessments and provided livelihood support and scholarship grants, respectively, to qualified recipients. To ensure faster and more efficient fire response in the country, Go primarily authored and co-sponsored Republic Act (RA) 11589, otherwise known as the “Bureau of Fire Protection Modernization Act of 2021.” Under the law, the BFP undergoes a ten-year modernization program, which includes recruiting more firefighters, acquiring new fire equipment and developing specialized training, among others. Go, who was reelected as the chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, then reminded the victims to prioritize their health amid the ongoing health crisis. He urged those eligible to get vaccinated and boosted to safeguard themselves from Covid-19 and its variants. He also offered additional assistance to those in need of medical attention and encouraged the beneficiaries to visit any of the six Malasakit Centers in the province including the Eversley Childs Sanitarium and General Hospital in Mandaue City. The Malasakit Centers program is a brainchild of Go and was institutionalized through Republic Act (RA) 11463, which the senator also primarily authored and sponsored. The center is a one-stop shop that offers medical assistance programs by the DSWD, Department of Health, Philippine Health Insurance Corp. and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. Other Malasakit Centers in the province are located at Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) and St. Anthony Mother and Child Hospital in Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City District Hospital, Talisay District Hospital in Talisay City and Cebu Provincial Hospital in Carcar City. Meanwhile, the senator also successfully sponsored a bill which seeks to increase the bed capacity of the VSMMC from 1,200 to 1,500 beds. It was enacted into law as RA 11717, together with 68 other local hospital bills, which Go likewise sponsored. On the previous day, the team of Go provided similar assistance to more fire victims in Cebu City and Compostela town.