Press Release
February 26, 2024

Bong Go visits Cebu City to help fire victims, emphasizes critical need for enhanced fire prevention measures in local communities

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go spearheaded a relief operation for fire victims at the Neneng Gymnasium in Barangay Tisa, Cebu City, on Sunday, February 25, taking the opportunity to emphasize the critical importance of fire prevention measures. He highlighted the significance of community-level efforts to mitigate fire risks and the need for enhanced preparedness to prevent similar tragedies.

"Nandito ako ngayon sa Cebu para magbigay ng kaunting tulong sa mga nasunugan sa abot ng aking makakaya, tumulong sa mga pasyente, tumulong sa mga proyektong makakapag-unlad ng inyong syudad, sa mga health programs, health facilities, at of course, ang pagpapatuloy ng serbisyo mula Malasakit Centers, at makapag-iwan ng konting kasiyahan sa kanila," he said.

"Masaya na po ako na nakikita po 'yung mga kababayan natin na nasunugan na masaya rin po ngayong araw na ito. Nawawala ang pagod ko kapag nakikita ko sila. Patuloy po akong magseserbisyo sa inyo sa abot ng aking makakaya dahil bisyo ko ang magserbisyo at naniniwala ako na ang serbisyo sa tao ay serbisyo sa Diyos," he added.

Senator Go extended his gratitude to the local government officials, particularly the Cebu City officials as well as the Tisa Barangay officials who were in attendance, for their prompt response and unwavering support to the affected families. He underscored the local government's role in addressing the immediate needs of the fire victims and ensuring their swift recovery from the calamity.

A total of 66 families from barangays Guadalupe, Tisa, Inayawan, Lahug, and Talisay received meals, grocery packs, water gallons, vitamins, masks, shirts, belt bags, and balls for basketball and volleyball from Go. There were also select recipients of shoes, bicycles, and mobile phones from Go's team.

"Huwag kayong mag-alala dahil ang importante buhay tayo. Ang gamit naman nabibili 'yan. Ang pera ay kikitain, magsumikap lang tayo. Subalit ang perang kikitain ay hindi po nabibili ang buhay. A lost life is a lost life forever. Kaya mag-ingat po tayo palagi at pangalagaan natin ang buhay na ibinigay sa atin ng Panginoon," said Go who is known as Mr. Malasakit for his compassionate service to those in need.

Meanwhile, the National Housing Authority conducted an assessment wherein qualified families may receive further emergency housing assistance.

"Bilang inyong Bisaya na senador, nagpapasalamat talaga ako sa lahat ng Bisaya, sa lahat ng Cebuano sa inyong pagtitiwala sa akin. Kaya patuloy akong magseserbisyo sa inyo sa abot ng aking makakaya dahil ang aking bisyo ay magserbisyo sa inyong lahat," he expressed.

"Wala po akong pinipiling araw. Lunes hanggang Linggo, umaga hanggang gabi... dahil iyan po ang aking sinumpaang tungkulin at hindi ko po matiis na nakaupo lang sa opisina habang ang mga kababayan natin ay nangangailangan ng tulong. Tutulong po ako sa abot ng aking makakaya," reaffirmed Go.

Furthermore, Senator Go highlighted the significant strides made in fire prevention and response through the enactment of Republic Act No. 11589, or the Bureau of Fire Protection Modernization (BFP) Act, signed into law by former president Rodrigo Duterte in 2021 which he principally authored and co-sponsored in the Senate.

This Act aims to fortify the Bureau of Fire Protection through a comprehensive modernization program over the next decade. These initiatives include acquiring and upgrading fire-fighting equipment, recruiting additional personnel, and providing specialized training to enhance the BFP's capabilities.

As Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, Senator Go expressed his hope that there would be no casualties from the fire. However, acknowledging the possibility of other health concerns, he encouraged those affected to seek assistance at any of the three Malasakit Centers in Cebu City located at Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC), St. Anthony Mother and Child Hospital, and Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC).

A brainchild of Go, the Malasakit Center program was first launched in Cebu in 2018 and was institutionalized under Republic Act No. 11463, which the senator principally sponsored and authored. It houses agencies including the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, to provide poor and indigent patients convenient access to medical assistance programs.

There are various Malasakit Centers in the province, including Cebu Provincial Hospital in Carcar City, Lapu-Lapu City District Hospital, Eversley Childs Sanitarium and General Hospital in Mandaue City, and Talisay District Hospital in Talisay City.

Meanwhile, Super Health Centers were also advocated by Go to be funded and built nationwide including in 21 strategic locations in Cebu province. Over 700 Super Health Centers are funded nationwide through the efforts of Go, DOH, LGUs and fellow lawmakers to bring primary health care closer to communities.

Lastly, Go is also the principal sponsor and one of the authors of RA 11959, or the Regional Specialty Centers Act. The law mandates the establishment of Regional Specialty Centers within existing DOH regional hospitals nationwide.

There are specialty centers inside VSMMC, including cardiovascular care, neonatal care, and trauma care. There will be other specialty centers set to be established inside the hospital, such as renal care and transplant center, lung care, brain and spine care, orthopedic center, physical rehabilitation medicine, infectious disease and tropical medicine, mental health, burn care, toxicology, cancer care, geriatric care, eye care, and dermatology care.

As the Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, Go has supported the rehabilitation and expansion of a multipurpose building in Brgy. Duljo Fatima, constructing a new multipurpose building in Bahay Silangan and acquiring a mini dump truck, all in Cebu City.

He also supported other projects in the province, including the construction of multipurpose buildings in Barili, Cordova, Ginatilan, Pilar, Tabogon and Talisay City; improvement of existing roads in Alcantara, Alcoy, Alegria, Asturias, Balamban, Boljoon, Borbon, Carmen, Madrilejos, Malabuyoc, Minglanilla, Moalboal, Pinamungajan, Sibonga, Sogod, Tabogon, Tabuelan, Carcar City and Naga City; improvement of flood mitigation structures in Catmon and Tuburan; installation of street lights in Asturias, Compostela, and Daanbantayan; and acquisition of ambulance units for Madridejos and Naga City.

Earlier that day, Go was in Laguna and attended the reunion of former Sangguniang Kabataan officers of the province in Sta. Cruz town.

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