Former Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Friday joined relief operations for victims of tropical depression Usman in the Bicol Region.
The activity saw Go comforting and handing relief goods to residents displaced by flood and landslides triggered by the storm last week.
Go also coordinated with his former colleagues in the government in helping secure financial assistance for families who suffered casualties from the calamity.
Go accompanied President Rodrigo Duterte in conducting an aerial survey of storm-hit areas in Camarines Sur, including Iriga City and the towns of Nabua, Bula, Baao, and Sagñay to determine the extent of the damage caused by Usman.
Tiwi in Albay was also inspected due to landslides in the town’s surrounding areas.
After the aerial inspection, the President presided over a situation briefing with Cabinet members and local officials held at the CamSur Watersports Complex in Pili, Camarines Sur.
For his part, Go sent relief goods for five municipalities hardest hit by Usman, including Castilla in Sorsogon, Tiwi in Albay, and Sagñay in Camarines Sur. The relief goods consisted of rice, canned goods, noodles and bottled water.
Go’s group also allocated relief goods for the storm victims in the municipalities of Mercedes in Camarines Norte and for Catarman in Samar.
Through his efforts, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) provided financial assistance to the next of kin of an initial batch of 13 fatalities due to the floods and landslides.
“Kasama po ang aking mga kaibigan, patuloy po kaming tutulong sa mga biktima sa abot ng aming makakaya,” Go stated.
Meanwhile, Go said Duterte has directed local officials in the storm-ravaged areas to do what is necessary to restore normalcy as soon as possible as the Chief Executive also vowed to assist in the rehabilitation of the damaged areas.
Currently, the government has extended around P10 million in assistance to the areas damaged by Usman.
“Ang order niya, sabi niya, dapat bumalik agad sa normal,” Go mentioned in an ambush interview.
Tropical Storm Usman caused the overflowing of both Baao Lake and Buhi Lake which caused flooding in several areas in and around Camarines Sur. Go said Duterte is saddened by the overflowing of the two lakes and the resulting damage it caused.
“Nalulungkot po siya na laging tinatamaan ng bagyo ang Bicol. Nakita namin ‘yung Buhi at Baao Lake kanina; lumawak po ‘yung lake. Ang problema po dito (ay) kung paano ma-de-drain ‘yung tubig. I think matatagalan po ito dahil walang exit ‘yung tubig pero gagawin namin lahat para mabalik sa normal ang sitwasyon,” he said.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said that a total of 122 people were reported to have died due to Usman, with majority of the fatalities coming from the Bicol Region.
As of Friday, some 75,326 families or 308,451 individuals were displaced in Bicol, Eastern and Western Visayas, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon, Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan.###