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Government to continue helping fire victims – Go

Emmanuel Tupas - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The government will continue to step up its efforts in addressing fire-related incidents to reduce fatalities and losses, especially in poor communities, Sen. Bong Go said as he visited fire victims in Barangay Manresa, Quezon City the other day.

Go authored and co-sponsored the bill, which eventually became Republic Act No. 11589 or the Bureau of Fire Protection Modernization Act, which directs the Bureau of Fire Protection to implement a modernization program.

Signed into law by President Duterte on Sept. 14, the measure is expected to transform the bureau into a world-class institution by mandating the implementation of a modernization program that will include, among others, the recruitment of more firefighters, provision of specialized training for personnel, and upgrade and acquisition of new fire equipment.

“What’s most important is nobody gets hurt. I usually get to visit Quezon City, even as early as dawn, when fires are still being put out. Let’s be careful because fire spreads easily to neighboring houses,” he said in Filipino.

“To fire victims, don’t be worried, let’s just help one another. That we are still alive is most important. Money can be earned, property can be bought, but money earned can’t buy life. A lost life is a lost life forever so be careful,” he continued.

The senator, in coordination with concerned national agencies, led the distribution of financial assistance and relief goods among 200 families at the Masambong Elementary School.

Go also gave away new pairs of shoes and bicycles to select residents, as well as computer tablets to help children studying under the blended learning setup.

Furthermore, the Department of Social Welfare and Development provided additional financial assistance while the Department of Health handed out medicine packs and vitamins. The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office gave away separate food packs while the Department of Agriculture delivered supplies of fresh vegetables.

“All I wish is to find work, and be able to sell goods again. All I want is to get help so I can go back to work. I don’t expect anything else so that’s why I felt overjoyed to get help from him,” Mario Padual, one of the victims, said referring to Go.

Go reminded the residents to continue to support the government’s COVID-19 response efforts and urged them to stay on guard despite decline in COVID-19 cases.

As chairman of the Senate committee on health, Go has also offered to help beneficiaries in need of medical care. He advised them to seek medical assistance from the government through any of the 11 Malasakit Centers in Quezon City. Go authored and sponsored the measure, which eventually became the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019.

“The Malasakit Center is for poor and indigent patients. It doesn’t discriminate; if you’re a Filipino you’re qualified to get help at the Malasakit Center. If you get ignored, tell them ‘hey I’m a Filipino it’s my right.’ That’s true, it’s your right,” he said.

“There’s fund the President has specially set aside, so don’t hesitate to ask for help. If there’s still balance (in hospital bills), the funds can be used to achieve zero balance or until your hospitalization gets fully paid. Just go to the Malasakit Center,” Go explained.

“And don’t thank me and President Duterte. It’s we who should thank you and the Lord, because we’re just provincianos who were given the opportunity to be of service to you,” he added.

The senator also expressed his gratitude to officials, including Bagong Henerasyon party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte, Councilors Bernard Herrera and Tany Joe Calalay, and Manresa Punong Barangay Arturo Tambis for their quick response and support for the victims.

In her speech, Belmonte expressed her appreciation to Go’s extending support to calamity victims in Quezon City.

“We know he travels a lot around the country and yet he has never forgotten us here in the city,” Belmonte said.

“He has never been absent here. Sometimes, he even gets ahead of me in distributing ayuda to accident victims,” she added.

Up to God

On his presidential bid, Go said “the presidency is something I have never dreamed of.”

“I was trying to avoid this position, but fate has a way of turning things around. The party and President Duterte have decided and I accepted the challenge,” he said mostly in Filipino.

“At present, I continue to seek guidance from the Divine Being for I believe that the presidency is a matter of destiny. If it’s meant for you, it goes to you,” he said.

“My heart feels the warmth of your support, and it’s something I will never forget. I’m just expressing my feelings,” he said.

“I had been candidate for vice president for 40 days until something I’d never expected happened. And because I didn’t want to hurt the feelings of President Duterte and his family I felt the need to give in,” he said. “But in the past few days I realized that my heart and mind are contradicting my own actions.

“I’m just human who gets hurt and gets weary, or maybe politics is so dirty and heated. My body, heart and mind were trying to resist and even my family is hurting,” he said.

“I’m just a provincial guy given the chance by God and the Filipino people to serve you. I’m not a politician. I didn’t come from a big or prominent family. I am only a simple public servant… whose only wish is to serve others,” he said.

“But at this point, maybe it’s not yet my time. I’m someone who’s willing to sacrifice so that no one else gets hurt or gets into trouble. I don’t want the president and our supporters to suffer even further. I love President Duterte. He’s now old and I don’t want to add to his problems,” he said.

“Having said this, I leave my fate to God and the Filipino people as I vow to do my best every day to serve selflessly and tirelessly. I am willing to make the supreme sacrifice for the good of our country, and for the sake of unity among our supporters and leaders,” he maintained, adding there are many ways to help fellow Filipinos.

Meanwhile, the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) has expressed its support for Go’s presidential bid amid reports that he is withdrawing from the race.

LPP president and Marinduque Gov. Presbitero Velasco Jr. made the statement during a meeting with President Duterte, Go and other local chief executives on Wednesday.

“A compassionate, hardworking, and competent public servant deserving of the highest office of the land. Bong Go as president would ensure the sustainability and continuity of the projects and programs of the Duterte administration,” Velasco said.

BFP BONG GO
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