Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go attended on Tuesday, Feb. 11, the turnover ceremony of 74 fire trucks to local government units (LGUs) at the Lapu-Lapu Grandstand of Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
Go accompanied President Rodrigo Duterte who handed the ceremonial keys of the fire trucks to three representatives from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
“These new equipment are testament to the government’s full support for the Bureau of Fire Protection’s (BFP) mandate to promote public safety by saving lives and protecting property from destruction during natural and man-made disasters and other emergencies,” the President said in his speech.
Go is the author of Senate Bill (SB) No. 204 or the proposed Fire Protection Modernization Act of 2019.
In his welcome remarks, BFP chief Jose Embang Jr. acknowledged the benefits of the proposed law.
“Hayaan ninyo akong pasalamatan ang ating mahal na Pangulo sa kanyang panawagan at suporta na maisulong ang modernisasyon ng Bureau of Fire Protection. Malaking tulong po ang P10-billion Fire Protection Modernization Act of 2019,” Embang said.
The amount is allocated in a bill pending in the House of Representatives.
The President has urged Congress in his fourth State of the Nation Address in July 2019 to pass a law mandating a modernization program for the BFP, along with several other laws. Embang said that 287 or 19 percent of the 1,489 municipalities in the country do not have fire trucks yet.
“Sa aming hakbang tungo sa modernisasyon, layunin namin ang pagkakaroon ng bagong fire trucks at emergency vehicles sa bawat bayan,” he said.
At the BFP’s 46th Fire Service Recognition Day on Dec. 14, Go said that he is pushing for the passage of SB 204.
“Kaagapay ninyo ako sa inyong mga hangarin...Isa ito sa sampung priority bills na inuna kong pinasa noong Hulyo.” SB 204 seeks to establish a Fire Protection Modernization Program to be implemented by the BFP and will include hiring of more personnel, acquiring modern fire equipment and trainings for firefighters, among others.
The bill also mandates BFP to respond to disasters and conduct monthly fire prevention campaigns and information drive in all local government units, particularly in informal settlements and economically depressed areas. “It is high time that we upgrade the facilities and capabilities of the Bureau of Fire Protection. Let us add more services and hire more men and women who would dare to become the respected and admired firemen and women of our nation,” said Go.