IN response to an appeal for COVID-related assistance, the Office of Senator Christopher “Bong” Go provided aid to the motor cab drivers and members of the Tricycle Operators and Drivers’ Associations in Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte who have experienced a significant drop in their incomes as a result of the pandemic.
“Mga kababayan, mga kapatid kong Bisaya, alam po namin na mahirap ang sitwasyon ninyo ngayon. Mahirap maghanapbuhay, mahirap ang negosyo, marami ang mawalan ng trabaho… talagang napakahirap ng buhay sa panahong ito dahil sa pandemyang COVID-19,” Go began in a video message.
“Ganon pa man, patuloy lang tayong magtulungan. Hindi kami titigil ni Pangulong [Rodrigo] Duterte sa pagseserbisyo sa inyo. Hindi namin kayo pababayaan, lalo na sa panahon ng krisis,” he vowed.
The activity was held at the Dipolog Cultural Center in partnership with several government agencies. Go’s personnel served meals to a total of 700 TODA members who were divided in batches in order to comply with required minimum health standards. They also distributed vitamin supplements, masks and face shields to each beneficiary so they can protect themselves from COVID-19.
Meanwhile, selected TODA members were given new pairs of shoes while others received bicycles so they can travel with ease while public transportation remains limited. Another set of beneficiaries was provided computer tablets to help their children participate remotely in their classes under the blended learning set-up.
“Maraming salamat Senador Bong Go mula sa amin mga driver dito sa Dipolog City!” Danilo Ralph Refugio said in an interview.
“Salamat po Senador Go para sa mga ibinigay mong tulong sa aming mga motor cab drivers,” added another beneficiary, Cris Villanueva.
In addition to the aforementioned assistance, personnel from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office distributed separate food packs to ensure beneficiaries and their families have access to food. The DSWD also provided financial assistance to cover other basic necessities.
The Department of Agriculture, in turn, brought seed supplies to encourage families to plant vegetable gardens in their backyards.
Furthermore, healthcare workers from the Department of Health provided free medical check-ups and gave away hygiene kits and additional masks and vitamins.
Meanwhile, the Departments of Labor and Employment, and Trade and Industry conducted an assessment of beneficiaries seeking employment and livelihood assistance, respectively. The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority also profiled students and job seekers in need of training courses to develop skills necessary for employment.
With COVID-19 posing a serious threat to the sick and elderly, Go offered to assist any beneficiary and their families who are in need of medical care. He encouraged other residents with health-related concerns to visit the Malasakit Center located at the Zamboanga del Norte Medical Center or the Dr. Jose Rizal Memorial Hospital in Dapitan City.
The Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop started and legislated by Go where poor and indigent patients may conveniently avail medical assistance from the DOH, DSWD, PCSO and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation.
The Senator, in his message, went on to recognize the public officials who continue to serve and provide for the needs of their poorest and most vulnerable constituents. Among those present during the activity were Governor Roberto Uy; Vice Governor Senen Angeles; 2nd District Representative Glona Labadlabad; Misamis Oriental 1st District Rep. Diego Ty; Provincial Board Members Julius Napigquit, Crisologo Decierdo, and Ronilio Lee. He also acknowledged Mayor Darel Dexter Uy; Vice Mayor Horacio Velasco and council.
“Sumusunod tayo sa gobyerno dahil delikado pa ang panahon. Magsuot tayo ng mask at face shield, mag-social distancing at maghugas ng kamay parati. Kung hindi kailangan, huwag munang lumabas ng inyong pamamahay,” reminded Go.
“Magmalasakit, magbayanihan at magtulungan tayo. Hindi magpapahinga ang inyong gobyerno dahil tuloy-tuloy dapat ang serbisyo at pagtulong sa mga kababayan natin lalo na sa panahon ng krisis,” he concluded.
The Senator’s office previously extended similar assistance to 300 beneficiaries composed of market vendors and TODA members in the town of President Manuel Roxas on Tuesday, March 30.
Necessary health and safety protocols were in place throughout all these activities to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.