Alarmed by the latest fire incidents, such the ones that took place in Cainta and San Mateo, Rizal and most recently in Pasay City, senatorial aspirant and former Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Friday stressed the need to intensify fire prevention campaigns to avoid loss of lives and properties.
Go said he was saddened by the death of a child in a fire incident in Cainta, and of nine members of a family in a fire in Maricaban, Pasay City on Thursday.
“Nalulungkot ako pag merong namamatay tuwing may nasusunugan (I get sad when someone dies in a fire),” he said in an interview with reporters after visiting the victims of the Pasay fire.
Go extended cash assistance to the bereaved family of a soldier who perished in the fire. He also vowed to help them rebuild their house and give them a small business to start their life anew with the help of some supporters.
He said improving fire safety measures across the country will be a priority in his legislative agenda once he is elected to the Senate.
Go said the tragic loss of lives in the recent fire incidents are sad reminders of the importance of better fire protection and prevention measures.
“Kailangan talaga na ayusin din ang paggawa ng building. Dapat safe pati ang electricity para maiwasan ang sunog (There is a need for buildings to follow fire safety standards. Electrical wirings should also be checked to prevent fire),” he said, adding that strict compliance with building permits should observed.
He noted that according to initial information gathered by investigators, the fire in Pasay may have been caused by faulty electrical wiring.
Go said he will coordinate with the Bureau of Fire Protection on how they can improve their service and ensure that all structures are compliant with existing building safety codes.
In the 2018 performance audit on the BFP, the Commission on Audit (COA) found out that 308 towns are still without fire stations and 59 without fire trucks.
State auditors said 44 fire stations are still being constructed but the rest have yet to begin construction. They also said that only 621 out of the BFP’s target of 1,057 fire trucks had been procured. The COA has pointed to funding as the primary reason for BFP’s failure to reach its targets.
Apart from improved fire protection and fire prevention, Go’s legislative agenda also includes programs to improve the delivery of health services, including the establishment of Malasakit Centers across the country.
The one-stop shop makes it easier and faster for indigent patients to avail of medical and financial assistance from the government by bringing together in one room all concerned agencies, such as the departments of health and social work, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, and PhilHealth.
Go’s legislative priorities will also include programs for agriculture, education, housing, long-term sports development, anti-illegal drugs and criminality, localized peace talks, anti-corruption, creation of a Department of OFW, barangay welfare, and improved benefits for senior citizens.