Bong Go aids fire-hit Cebu communities, stresses fire prevention interventions

On Saturday, May 20, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go had his team mounted a relief activity for Cebuanos whose houses were damaged in a fire incident in Cebu City. In a video call, the senator underscored that he will continue to promote and advocate for better fire prevention measures in the country.

Sa mga nasunugan po dito sa Cebu City, sana nasa mabuti kayong kalagayan. Huwag po kayong mawalan ng pag-asa, ang importante ay buhay kayo. Ang gamit po ay napapalitan, ang pera ay kikitain pero ang pera ay hindi nabibili ang buhay. A lost life is a lost life forever. Kaya mag-ingat po tayo,” Go expressed.

The senator’s team mounted the relief activity at Barangay Mambaling gymnasium, where they distributed grocery packs, snacks, vitamins, masks and shirts. They also gave away bicycles, mobile phones, shoes, watches and balls for basketball and volleyball to select beneficiaries.

A team from the Department of Social Welfare and Development also extended financial support.

In total, 171 affected families were aided from Barangays Duljo Poblacion, Pit-os, Mambaling, Kalunasan, Luz, Sinsin, Kamputhaw and Basak San Nicolas.

Go has primarily authored and co-sponsored Republic Act No. 11589, otherwise known as the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Modernization Act.

“Importante po na mabigyan ng suporta ang modernization ng ating Bureau of Fire Protection dahil napaka-importante ng tungkulin na ginagampanan nila upang makapagligtas ng buhay,” Go explained.

Halos linggu-linggo akong bumababa sa mga nasusunugan. Nakikita ko ang hirap ng ating mga kababayan. Kahit isang bahay lang ang masunog, damay pati ang kapitbahay. Maraming pamilya ang apektado kaya dapat na palakasin natin ang kapasidad ng BFP sa pagreresponde sa sunog,” he added.

Signed by former president Rodrigo Duterte in 2021, the Act provides for the acquisition of modern fire equipment, expansion of the BFP’s manpower, and provision of highly-specialized training to firefighters, among others. It also mandates the bureau to implement monthly fire prevention campaigns and information drives in every local government unit.

Go also offered to help those with health issues. As Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, he encouraged them to seek the services of the Malasakit Centers located at Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, Cebu City Medical Center and St. Anthony Mother and Child Hospital, all located in the city.

The Malasakit Center was first established in VSMMC in 2018. To date, there are 157 such centers nationwide that have helped over seven million particularly poor and indigent patients, according to the Department of Health.

The Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop where patients may conveniently apply for medical assistance from concerned agencies such as the DSWD, DOH, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

In Cebu province, there are also Malasakit Centers at Eversley Childs Sanitarium and General Hospital in Mandaue City, Cebu South Medical Center in Talisay City, Lapu-Lapu District Hospital in Lapu-Lapu City, and Cebu Provincial Hospital in Carcar City.

Go then mentioned that DOH has also identified areas to construct Super Health Centers in the province. SHCs were funded to be established in the cities of Bogo, Danao, Lapu-Lapu, and Mandaue; and in the towns of Borbon, Cordova, Moalboal, Samboan and San Francisco in 2022.

This year, more Super Health Centers were funded in the cities of Carcar, Cebu, Talisay and Toledo; and in the towns of Carmen, Consolacion, Liloan, Medellin and San Nicolas. An additional Super Health Center will also be established in Danao City.

Through the collective efforts of fellow lawmakers, sufficient funds had been allocated for 307 Super Health Centers in 2022 and 322 in 2023. DOH, the lead implementing agency, identifies the strategic areas where they will be constructed.

Super Health Centers offer database management, out-patient, birthing, isolation, diagnostic (laboratory: x-ray, ultrasound), pharmacy, and ambulatory surgical unit. Other available services are eye, ear, nose, and throat service; oncology centers; physical therapy and rehabilitation center; and telemedicine, where remote diagnosis and treatment of patients will be done.

Mas malaki ito sa rural health unit (pero) mas maliit sa ospital. Mayroon na siyang laboratory, minor operating, emergency, pharmacy, birth facilities, (at) dental services. Hindi niyo na kailangang bumyahe ng malayo para sa pagpagamot,” explained Go.

Meanwhile, Go was also instrumental in the passage of Republic Act No. 11717, which increased the bed capacity of VSMMC from 1,200 to 1,500 beds.

As Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, Go likewise continues to help improve the delivery of public service in the city as he supported the rehabilitation and expansion of the Barangay Multi-Purpose Building Area at Barangay Duljo Fatima and the acquisition of a mini dumptruck.

Yan po ang ipinangako ko sa inyo noon, kahit saang sulok kayo ng Pilipinas, basta kaya lang po ng aking katawan at panahon, pupuntahan ko po kayo — makatulong sa abot ng aking makakaya, makabigay ng konting solusyon sa mga problema, masuportahan ang mga proyekto na makakapagpaunlad sa inyong lugar, at makaiwan po ng konting ngiti sa panahon ng pagdadalamhati,” said Go.

On the same day, Go also sent another team in Mandaue City and provided similar relief to more fire victims.