Bong Go co-sponsors Senate reso honoring heroism of 5 fallen Bulacan rescuers
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Christopher “Bong” Go has co-sponsored a Senate resolution honoring the heroism of the five members of the Bulacan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office who died in service during the onslaught of Super Typhoon Karding.
The five rescuers—George Agustin, Troy Justin Agustin, Marby Bartolome, Jerson Resurrecion, and Narciso Calayag Jr.—died in San Miguel, Bulacan, after being swept away by a flash flood. Their remains were later found in Sitio Banga Banga, Barangay Camias in the town at around 7:00 a.m. on September 26.
“Mr. President, esteemed colleagues, it is an honor to co-sponsor the resolution honoring the heroism of the five rescuers who braved Super Typhoon Karding and died in an effort to bring aid to affected families in San Miguel, Bulacan,” said Go in his co-sponsorship speech during the regular Senate session on Tuesday, September 27.
He then expressed his condolences to the families and colleagues of the victims, saying, “Nakakalungkot po na buhay ang naging kabayaran ng kanilang pagtupad sa tungkulin at pagnanais na makasagip ng buhay ng kanilang kapwa tao. Sila ay tunay na mga bayani.”
(It is saddening that lives were taken while performing their duty to save the life of their fellow men. They are the real heroes.)
“Buong puso po ang aking pagdadalamhati at pakikiramay sa mga naiwang pamilya at mahal nila sa buhay. Bagama’t hindi po matutumbasan ng anumang halaga ang buhay na nawala, lagi pong bukas ang aking opisina upang maghatid ng kinakailangang tulong sa naiwang pamilya ng ating mga nasawing rescuers,” he added.
(My deepest condolences to the family and their loved ones. Although there is no amount equivalent to the lives lost, my office is open to provide needed assistance to the bereaved family of the rescuers.)
The senator stated that he is considering introducing a measure that would provide benefits and security of tenure to long-term government employees.
“Kasalukuyan ko rin pong pinag-aaralan ang posibleng pagpa-file ng panukalang batas na magbibigay ng mga kaukulang benepisyo at security of tenure para sa mga matagal nang empleyado ng gobyerno,” he said.
(We are also in the process of studying the possible filing of proposed law that will provide benefits and security of tenure for those who have long been working for the government.)
“All government personnel should be entitled to hazard pay, particularly those (doing) truly hazardous jobs,” he added.
Go pointed out that despite having worked for the government for a very long period, many job order employees, including rescuers, still lack security of tenure.
“Marami sa mga Job Order (personnel) ang matagal nang empleyado ng gobyerno, kung minsan umaabot ng mahigit na sa limang taon pero wala pa rin silang security of tenure at walang benepisyo na tulad ng isang regular na empleyado ng gobyerno,” noted Go.
“Unfair naman po sa kanila… Minsan, parehas lang po sila ng ginagawa ng isang regular na government employee, pero sila walang benepisyo dahil Job Order lang po sila,” he added.
Go also continues to push for additional disaster-resilient policies that are intended to effectively address both natural and man-made disasters, such as Senate Bill No. 188, which will establish the Department of Disaster Resilience.
“I have also earlier re-filed my Disaster Resilience bill that seeks to create the Department of Disaster Resilience. Among others, the bill also provides for the hazard pay for all personnel of the said department and local disaster resilience offices,” said Go.
The senator mentioned that former president Rodrigo Duterte had previously ordered the payment of COVID-19 hazard pay for all government personnel including casual employees.
“I see no reason why we cannot do the same for those involved in disaster response,” Go remarked.
“Sariling buhay po nila ang kanilang itinaya sa ngalan ng kanilang serbisyo. This is the least we could do for all our heroic public servants,” he stressed.
Senators Joel Villanueva, Lito Lapid, and Robin Padilla filed separate Senate resolutions to honor the fallen rescuers.
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Responding to appeals for help, the Inquirer is extending its relief efforts to the families affected by Typhoon Karding. Cash donations may be deposited in the Inquirer Foundation Corp. Banco De Oro (BDO) Current Account No.: 007960018860 and through Maya
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