The chair of the Senate committee on health and demography underscored the need for immediate mobilization of government’s relief assistance to victims of fire to lessen the impact of disaster occurring back-to-back with the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said in a statement Monday that as the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte belabored to implement the newly-signed Republic Act 11589, also known as the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Modernization Act, fire victims must not be left at the mercy of the government.
RA 11589 seeks the modernization of fire departments across the country under a 10-year program that will include the recruitment of more firefighters, provision of specialized trainings, upgrading and acquisition of new fire equipment, among others.
Go expressed optimism that with the measure, BFP will be more capable of addressing fire incidents.
“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,” Go said.
As part of his commitment to helping communities recover from various crisis situations, Go’s team organized a relief effort on September 23 for the families affected by a recent fire incident in Barangay Sta. Cruz here.
Some 82 families composed of 271 individuals received financial assistance, grocery packs, meals, masks, face shields and vitamins during the team’s distribution activity at the Velez Gymnasium in Barangay Sta. Cruz.
They strictly implemented safety and health protocols as recommended by the government to safeguard the well-being of the fire victims amid the pandemic.
“My fellow countrymen, let’s just work together, let’s take care and help one another. Our belongings can be bought, but the money that we earn cannot certainly buy life,” Go said in Filipino in a video message to the fire victims.
To further help the families recover, representatives from the National Housing Authority provided housing assistance while the Department of Social Welfare and Development handed out financial assistance to each affected family.
The Department of Trade and Industry and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, on the other hand, conducted assessments for their respective livelihood and scholarship programs.
As a person with a disability and with her husband losing his source of income since the pandemic started, Juliet Pangilinan, 40, shared how hard it was for her family to recover from the fire incident.
She thanked Duterte and Go for extending the necessary support they need to start anew. (PNA)