Press Release
July 29, 2021

'Disaster resiliency is a priority', says Bong Go as his bills creating DDR, mandatory evacuation centers, BFP modernization among legislative priorities in PRRD's SONA

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go expressed his appreciation towards President Rodrigo Duterte for supporting many of his proposed legislative measures, especially those that would address natural and human-induced disasters, during the latter's final State of the Nation Address on Monday, July 26.

Since being elected as Senator in 2019, Go has been committed to pushing measures that are intended to create a quicker and more unified whole-of-government approach during crisis situations.

"Iisa po ang hangarin namin ni Pangulong Duterte kaya naman nagpapasalamat po ako sa Pangulo for mentioning some of my priority bills during his final SONA," said Go.

"Naiintindihan po ni Pangulong Duterte na iba't ibang krisis at sakuna ang hinaharap ng mga Pilipino bawat taon. Kung gaano kabilis makasira ng pamumuhay ang mga di inaasahang pangyayaring ito, mas mabilis dapat ang aksyon ng gobyerno upang mapaghandaan at maprotektahan ang buhay at kapakanan ng mga Pilipino," he added.

In his sixth SONA, Duterte mentioned the need to establish a Department of Disaster Resilience. Senate Bill No. 205, filed by Go, aims to create the Department of Disaster Resilience, a focused department that will ensure a proactive approach to natural disasters.

Under the said bill, DDR will unify and streamline all responsibilities related to disaster preparedness and response, functions that are presently scattered across various departments and offices.

"Bago pa dumating ang bagyo, mayroon na hong makikipag-coordinate sa LGUs, preposition of goods at ilikas po ang mga kababayan natin sa ligtas na lugar. At pag-alis ng bagyo, restoration of normalcy kaagad, maibalik kaagad sa normal ang pamumuhay ng mga kababayan natin. 'Yan po ang layunin ng Department of Disaster Resilience," said Go.

"Madalas pong tamaan ng bagyo, lindol at iba pang kalamidad ang ating bansa. Kailangan na talaga nating i-scale up ang preparedness to resiliency against disasters," he added.

Also, in order to further enhance the capabilities of the Bureau of Fire Protection in addressing fire-related incidences, Duterte also highlighted the need to pass SBN 1832, also known as the Bureau of Fire Protection Modernization Act.

Authored and co-sponsored by Go, SBN 1832 mandates the bureau to implement a modernization program that includes upgrading and acquiring fire equipment, recruiting more firefighters, developing specialized training programs, conducting monthly fire prevention campaigns, and many others.

"Nasa Bicam na po ito at meron lang pong kailangan i-reconcile sa Bicam report. Ako naman po, ang importante ay maipasa po ito agad. Hopefully po ay sana maipasa na po ito upon resumption ng Congress at matulungan na po natin ang ating kababayan," Go said.

"To better protect Filipinos, we need to further strengthen the Bureau of Fire Protection by improving its services and capabilities so that it can efficiently and effectively respond to incidents and other catastrophes," he added.

Finally, Duterte stressed his support for the enactment of SBN 1228 that aims to create climate change resilient communities by providing for the establishment of an evacuation center in every local government unit throughout the country.

Every year, around 20 typhoons hit the country with at least five of them being destructive. Stronger typhoons require either preemptive or mandatory evacuation of people, often ending up cramped in schools and gymnasiums. The Philippines is also along the Pacific Ring of Fire, causing around 100 felt earthquakes every year.

Given the geographic location of the country, Go reiterated that it is necessary to build permanent evacuation centers nationwide to ensure the safety of Filipinos in times of natural calamities and other disasters.

"Kailangang magpatayo tayo ng mga safe, permanent and dedicated evacuation centers na mayro'n sapat na mga emergency packs, katulad ng blankets, tubig, gamot, flashlight, at ready na relief goods. Obligasyon ng gobyerno na palaging maging handa sa oras ng sakuna," Go explained.

Go, then, urged his fellow lawmakers to unite and continue extending support to these proposed measures, saying "Hinihikayat ko rin po ang aking fellow lawmakers na patuloy natin suportahan ang mga panukalang batas na ang layunin ay makapagbigay ng ma ligtas at komportableng buhay ang mga Pilipino."

The President also mentioned in his last SONA other key priority legislation authored by Go, such as Senate Bill No. 1419 or the Unified System for Separation, Retirement, and Pension of the Military and Uniformed Personnel (MUP); SBN 393, which seeks to provide free legal assistance to Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines personnel; SBN 1738 or the "E-Governance Bill"; SBN 2158, which seeks to establish a Center for Disease Control and Prevention or the Philippine CDC; SBN 2155, or the "Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines Bill"; and the creation of the Department of Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos.

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