FOLLOWING a request for assistance from the local government, an outreach team of Senator Christopher “Bong” Go arrived in Kawit, Cavite, where they met with the victims of a major fire outbreak which caused extensive damage to numerous homes and infrastructure last March 19.
“Mga kababayan, gusto kong humingi ng tawad. Pupunta ako dapat diyan sa Kawit para makita kayo pero pinagbabawal ito ngayon ng quarantine restrictions. Huwag kayong mag-alala dahil hindi kayo pababayaan ng gobyernong ito na nagmamalasakit sa inyo,” Go said in a video message.
“Bilang Batangueño at adopted son ng CALABARZON region, palagi akong handang tumulong sa inyo sa abot ng aking makakaya,” he added.
On February 10, 2019, the governors of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon issued a manifesto that declared Go as the adopted son of Region 4A, calling him also as the “Special Assistant to the People”. Go’s mother hails from Batangas as part of the Tesoro clan.
“Ang importante buhay po tayo. Ang gamit mabibili natin ‘yan at ang pera kikitain natin subalit ‘yung perang kikitain natin ay hindi mabibili ang buhay niyo,” he said.
To comply with the government’s health and safety protocols, the Senator’s team conducted separate activities at the Florante Ilano Memorial Elementary School, Binakayan Elementary School, and Binakayan National High School.
A total of 1,844 residents or 517 families were provided meals, food packs and cash assistance. They also received vitamins, masks and face shields so they can protect themselves from COVID-19.
Selected beneficiaries were provided new pairs of shoes while some were given bicycles for their commuting needs. Others received computer tablets to help their children continue to access educational materials and stay connected with their teachers under the blended learning set-up.
Additionally, personnel from the Department of Social Welfare and Development distributed separate cash assistance while the Department of Health gave away medicine packs and additional vitamins during the activities.
The Department of Agriculture, in turn, brought supplies of vegetables and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office delivered additional food packs, sacks of rice, powdered milk and blankets as further support.
Meanwhile, the Department of Trade and Industry and the National Housing Authority conducted an assessment of individuals and households seeking emergency employment opportunities and housing assistance, respectively.
“Maraming salamat kay Senator Bong at kay Presidente [Rodrigo] Duterte. Sana po ay ‘di kayo magsawa tumulong sa mga nangangailangan at sa mga walang ibang maaasahan,” said Jessie Morales, a beneficiary.
“Walang-wala na kami talaga. Hindi namin alam papaano kami mag-uumpisa, paano kami makakabangon dahil wala talaga kaming mapagkukuhanan ngayon ng pagkakakitaan, lalo ng bumalik tayo sa General Community Quarantine,” he added.
To address any health concern, Go also offered to help residents who may be in need of medical care. He instructed them to visit the Malasakit Center at the General Emilio Aguinaldo Memorial Hospital in Trece Martires City where they may conveniently avail the medical assistance offered by various government agencies, namely, the DOH, DSWD, PCSO and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation.
Concluding his message, the Senator expressed his gratitude to the local officials for ensuring the safety and health of their constituents following the disaster. He specifically thanked Mayor Angelo Emilio Aguinaldo; Councilors Edward Samala, Bienvenido Cajigas, Divinia Pulido, Resty Layola, and Eman Tuazon; ABC President Alvin Bunag; and SK President Shanika Derudar, among others.
Go reiterated his call for the swift enactment of Senate Bill No. 1832 which seeks to minimize the incidence of fire outbreaks in the country by modernizing the Bureau of Fire Protection.
The measure, which he principally authored and co-sponsored, mandates the BFP to implement a program that is geared towards the capability enhancement of its personnel as well as the acquisition of fire prevention, suppression and investigation equipment etc. It also directs the establishment of Fire Protection Services and the implementation of monthly fire prevention information drives in every local government unit.
“As I have said numerous times, I will not limit myself to serving as a senator. Bilang public servant, magseserbisyo ako sa Pilipino kahit saan man kayo sa mundo para tugunan ang mga suliranin, pakinggan ang mga hinaing, at mag-iwan ng ngiti sa oras ng inyong pagdadalamhati,” said Go.
“Kahit anumang problema ang inyong hinaharap — nasunugan, nabahaan o naapektuhan ng pagputok ng bulkan, — handa akong tumulong at maserbisyo sa inyo sa abot ng aking makakaya,” he vowed.
The Senate passed SBN 1832 on final reading last March 8.