WITH the observance of the Fire Prevention Month this March, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go has urged authorities to strengthen their information campaign on fire prevention throughout the country to avoid loss of lives and properties due to fire incidents.
“Hindi lamang po ang pag-modernize ng ating equipment ang makatutulong sa paglaban sa mga sunog. Mahalaga rin dito ang fire safety education. ‘Yung atin dito, kung papaano i-prevent at maturuan ang mga kababayan natin kung papaano ba maiiwasan ang mga sunog,” Go pointed out.
Sharing his experience going around the country to aid victims of fires, Go explained that fires emanate from small, crowded communities in several occasions, giving rise to the need to educate residents in these mostly impoverished communities on how to avoid fires.
“Hirap na hirap na po mga kababayan natin ngayon. May pandemya na tayong hinaharap na dulot ng COVID-19. May mga komunidad tayong sinusubukang bumangon mula sa mga nakaraang kalamidad. Huwag na sanang dumagdag pa ang mga krisis na kaya naman maiwasan tulad ng sunog,” Go said.
Meanwhile, the senator also commended the Bureau of Fire Protection for its Oplan Ligtas Pamayanan or OLP which responds to the growing demand for a “more adoptive, comprehensive, and immersive fire protection program for the communities, rural and urban villages and barangays.”
The program is composed of four stages: Handang Pamayanan (ready community), Bayanihan Program (cooperative undertaking), Kaagapay Program (companion), and the Lingap Program (protective care).
To further improve the government’s fire safety and protection measures, Go filed Senate Bill 204 or the “Act Strengthening and Modernizing the Bureau of Fire Protection, Providing Funds Therefor, and for Other Purposes” in July 2019.
If passed into law, SB 204 will provide for the modernization of the BFP by giving them better equipment and resources to train its personnel. Under the measure, the bureau will also be mandated to conduct monthly fire prevention campaigns and information drives in all local government units (LGUs), particularly in informal settlements and economically depressed areas.
SB 204 will also establish Fire Protection Services (FPS) and rescue hotlines in all LGUs to help the local governments respond immediately to accidents, disasters and calamities.
In his previous statements, Go said that President Rodrigo Duterte, himself, understands the severity of the fire incidents the country faces, which is why fire prevention and modernization initiatives are part of the priorities of the Duterte Administration.
In the 2021 General Appropriations Act, Go, as Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, ensured that sufficient funds are provided for BFP to already start its efforts to modernize the bureau’s operations, its equipment and personnel while the proposed measure is still pending legislation.
Go also said that he supports the President’s position of arming BFP personnel so they can help in the fight against criminality.
“We are currently studying this added measure of arming firefighters. Nabanggit na rin ito ng Pangulo. Makakatulong din sila sa paglaban ng kriminalidad at para rin maproteksyunan ang kanilang mga sarili. Pati sa kampanya laban sa droga, makakatulong din sila,” said Go.