Senator Christopher ‘’Bong’’ Go on Friday urged the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to continue its efforts to modernize and enhance its ranks by acquiring more fire trucks and equipment especially for the  remote areas in the country.

bongo - Go urges BFP to push modernization efforts
Sen. Bong Go
(Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Go issued the statement after attending yesterday the ceremonial turnover at the Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City of the recently procured equipment of the BFP, including 84 units of 1,000 gallons capacity fire trucks, five units of aerial ladder, and three units of rescue trucks to be distributed by BFP to various local government units around the country. 

“All over the country po ito ipapamahagi. Natutuwa po ako dahil ang gusto naman po natin ay mabigyan ng sapat na kagamitan laban sa sunog ang mga iba’t ibang lugar — hopefully sa lahat ng sulok po ng bansa ay handa po tayo,” Go said. (These will be distributed all over the country. I am happy because we want to give the appropriate fire-fighting equipment to different parts of the country.)   

Go said there are many municipalities that have no financial capabilities to buy such an equipment.

“Hopefully, patuloy pa ang pag-acquire nila ng mga panibagong equipment. Kinausap ko rin po si Dir. Embang na ikonsidera rin nila ‘yung mga maliliit na fire trucks na puwedeng pumasok sa mga liblib o masisikip na lugar kasi doon po madalas nagkakasunog,” Go said, referring to BFP Chief Jose Embang, Jr. (Hopefully, their acquisition of fire-fighting equipment will continue. I told Director Embang that BFP should consider buying small fire trucks that can enter narrow roads and congested areas where fires usually originate from.)

Last February 11, 2020, Go joined President Duterte in witnessing the turnover of 74 fire trucks. The Senator also continues to provide aid to fire victims in different parts of the country. 

“Mahirap po mawalan ng bahay at kagamitan dahil sa sunog at iba pang sakuna. Kaya po patuloy akong nagbibigay ng tulong sa mga biktima at nag-iiwan ng ngiti sa oras ng kanilang pagdadalamhati,” Go said. (It is hard to lose a house and personal belongings due to fires. That is why I continue to extend help to fire victims and give them a reason to smile during a time of grief.)

“Bilang isang Senador at public servant, patuloy po akong magseserbisyo, lalo na sa mga mahihirap at nangangailangan na apektado ng krisis tulad ng sunog. Kasabay nito ay pagsisikapan ko bilang mambabatas na mas palakasin pa ang ating fire prevention and protection measures,” he added. (As a senator and a public servant, I continue to be of service, particularly to victims of crises like fires. As a lawmaker, I continue to help to strengthen our fire prevention and protection measures.)    

As vice-chairman of the Senate Committee on Peace and Order and as a main advocate of fire protection modernization initiatives, one of Go’s priority bills is Senate Bill 204 which is now consolidated under Committee Report No. 111, otherwise known as BFP Modernization Act of 2020. 

The measure is currently undergoing the period of interpellation in the Senate.

The bill aims to ensure the hiring of more personnel, acquisition of modern fire equipment, and the conduct of training for firefighters of the BFP. 

The bill will also empower local communities in preventing fire incidents by mandating the BFP to conduct monthly fire prevention campaigns and information drives in all local government units (LGUs), especially in vulnerable areas. 

Go said President Duterte fully supports the modernization efforts of the BFP.

“Ang sabi ng Pangulo, sabihin mo sa kanila huwag na nila ako unahin, ‘yung kagamitan ng mga sundalo at kapulisan at bumbero ang unahin natin,” he said. (The President said the equipment of soldiers, policemen, and firemen should come first.)

During the event, Go expressed his and Duterte’s full support for the country’s fire personnel, citing the government’s recent effort to increase the salaries and promote the welfare of the military and uniformed personnel. 

“Full support po kami sa inyo. Unang-una po, ‘yung pangako niya pagkaupo pa lang niya bilang Pangulo, tinupad niya agad ang pangako niya,” Go said, referring to the increase in salaries provided to uniformed personnel, including firefighters. (We give our full support to you. The President fulfills his promises when he took over the presidency in 2016.)

Go also said that he supports the President’s position of arming BFP personnel so they can help in the fight against criminality. 

“We are currently studying this added measure of arming firefighters. Nabanggit na rin ito ng Pangulo. Makakatulong din sila sa paglaban ng kriminalidad at para rin maproteksyunan ang kanilang mga sarili. Pati sa kampanya laban sa droga, makakatulong din sila,” Go said. (This was mentioned by the President. They can help fight criminality and also protect themselves. They can also help in containing the spread of dangerous drugs.)   

In addition to fire trucks and other modern equipment, Go also said that he is coordinating with BFP officials, government finance managers, and concerned agencies on how to also provide additional ambulance units to the BFP. 

He said that providing ambulances will make the BFP more responsive in fulfilling its mandate and will be useful, especially in times of national emergencies given that their personnel are well-trained frontliners. 

“Kapag mayroon nang vaccine kontra COVID-19, pwede pong tumulong ang BFP para mabakunahan ang mga tao. Nagtutulungan po lahat ng ating uniformed personnel, mula military, pulis, bumbero, at iba pa para maprotektahan ang kapakanan ng ating mga kababayan,” Go explained. (Our firemen can also help in the vaccination of our countrymen to fight the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Our uniformed personnel, from the military, policemen, firemen and others can help in protecting the interests of Filipinos.) 

Go thanked officials for their efforts to modernize the BFP and for their continuing service, especially during the pandemic, specifically Department of the Interior and Local Government officials led by Secretary Eduardo Año and BFP officials led by Embang, Jr. 

Go also acknowledged local officials and district representatives who were present, including Congressman Onyx Crisologo of the 1st District of Quezon City, Congresswoman Angel Amante-Matba of the 2nd District of Agusan del Norte, Mayor Marcy Teodoro of Marikina City, and Mayor Judy Amante of Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte and thanked them for their support to the national government in the bayanihan efforts to overcome the pandemic. 

“Dahil mahirap ang panahon ngayon, we have to adjust to the new normal pero konting tiis lang po. Alam kong hirap po kayo. Kami ni Pangulong Duterte, hindi kami nawawalan ng pag-asa, magtulungan lang po tayo. Sino pa ba ang magtutulungan kundi tayong kapwa Pilipino,” he said, (Because times are hard, we have to adjust to the new normal. Please bear with us. I know you are suffering. I and President Go have not lost hope. We should help one another.)

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