Press Release
July 16, 2019

Go visits Tagbilaran to help fire victims and rebuild Cogon Public Market

Tagbilaran City, Bohol - Despite the threat of inclement weather brought by tropical depression Falcon, Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go pushed his visit to Tagbilaran City in Bohol to check on the status of the fire victims who were affected by the Cogon Public Market fire incident.

Go, who flew all the way from Davao, rode a motorcycle from the airport to the area. Together with volunteers, Go distributed immediate relief assistance such as grocery packs, food and cash assistance. The senator also provided uniforms to students.

"Naa koy gamay nga hinabang dala. Gamay ra ni, pangpatabok lang, gamay nga cash assistance, grocery [I brought some assistance. This is not much but something to help you right away - cash assistance, grocery packs]," Go told the Cogon Public Market fire victims in Visayan.

As requested by Go, representatives of various government agencies were also present. The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) will help assess the needed assistance for the victims. As most of the victims were small business owners, Go urged the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to extend livelihood assistance to these victims so they can get back in business right away.

"Ug akong ihangyo ang mga kaubanan nako sa gobyerno sauna sama sa DTI, magtabang pd sila diri, maghatag sila ug livelihood assistance sa inyo. Atong ihangyo ang NHA na mutabang pod sila, ang DOH, PAGCOR ug ang PCSO. Ambag ambag lang gud para pangtabok. [And I requested our colleagues from the government such as DTI to help the victims here and give livelihood assistance to you. We also request NHA to help, DOH, PAGCOR and PCSO for contribution to help.]," Go said.

In addition, Go also committed to help rebuild the public market. He said, "Maningkamot gyud mi (President Rodrigo Duterte) na mabalik ni dayon inyohang market so mangita mig pondo sa Manila. [We will do our best with the President to bring your public market back, we will find budget for it.]"

Go told the Boholano crowd that they should not lose hope and that part of his promise to the Filipino people is that he will go through every corner if the time, weather and his body permit. He also said that they should not treat him as a senator but a neighbour.

"Ayaw ko ninyo itrato na isa ka senador, itrato lang ko ninyo na silingan ta. Bisaya man ta, magkasinabot man atong inistoryahan. Kuhita lang ko ninyo ug sa abot sa akong kaya, ako, andam man ko magserbisyo sa inyo. Gihatag sa Ginoo sa akoa na mahimong senador, wa na koy pangayuon pa sa Ginoo, akong ibalik sa taw," Go said.

[Don't treat me as a senator, treat me as your neighbour. We're all Visayans here and we understand our language. Just ask me and up to my ability, I am ready to serve all of you. God gave me this gift to be a senator, and I have nothing more to ask from God, I will just give it back to the people.]

In another ambush interview, Go emphasized that he will ask the President to extend help right away and that of course, estimates and documents are needed so that the desired funds to rebuild Cogon Public Market will be immediately processed and "Para makabalik dayon sila sa ilahang normal na pagnegosyo sa ilang panginabuhi [So that they can go back to their normal business which is also their source of livelihood].

The fire that happened on July 10 and left a Php3 million worth of property damage, mainly afflicted the vendors who had their stalls inside the area. It was estimated that 80 stalls inside the market compound were razed by the fire and most of the belongings of these vendors were included in the fire.

Earlier this month, Go filed Senate Bill No. 204 which is known as the "Fire Protection Modernization Act of 2019". The bill includes a modernization program to be implemented by the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) with the DILG. The program entails the establishment of a Fire Protection Service in all LGUs with no existing fire protection services.

Based on SB 204, additional functions will also be granted to the BFP, such as the establishment of regional arson laboratories, research and testing facilities and the conduction of monthly fire prevention campaigns and information drives to government units to prevent such fire accidents. The bill also emphasizes the need to secure safe and fire-proof infrastructures through issuance of a fire safety evaluation clearance.

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