Senator Christopher “Bong” Go personally led a relief operation on Wednesday, 24 May, for the victims of a devastating fire that ravaged a densely populated area in Sta. Cruz, Manila City.
The fire which broke out on 15 May left two dead and affected more than a thousand families who are now in dire need of assistance.
Held at the Manuel L. Quezon University basketball court, Go and his team distributed grocery packs, vitamins, masks, and shirts to 1,201 households. He likewise gave away bicycles, cellular phones, shoes, watches, and balls for basketball and volleyball to select recipients.
Recognizing the urgency of the situation, Go collaborated with the Department of Social Welfare and Development, which extended financial assistance to the affected families.
Through his speech, the senator recognized the efforts of Manila City officials, led by Congressman Joel Chua, Mayor Honey Lacuna, and Vice Mayor Yul Nieto. Go also thanked officials present during the operation, including Barangay 310 Chairman Roland Gacula, Kagawad Roywilhelm Lim, Kagawad Rodelito Jurilla, Kagawad Romulo Balincongan, and Kagawad Ryan Lacsina, among others.
“Marami pong nagtatanong sa akin kung bakit (ang isang) senador (ay) pumupunta sa mga nasunugan? Alam n’yo, hindi ko po matiis na nakaupo lang po sa opisina habang kayo rito nangangailangan po ng tulong. Iyan ang ipinangako ko sa inyo. Kahit saang sulok kayo ng Pilipinas, lindolin, bagyuhin, masunugan kayo, buhawi, pagputok ng bulkan basta kaya lang po ng aking katawan at panahon pupuntahan ko po kayo,” Go said.
“Nandito ako para makatulong sa abot ng aking makakaya, mapakinggan ang inyong mga hinaing, maalalayan ang mga may sakit na kailangang magpagamot, makasuporta sa mga proyekto na makakapagpaunlad ng inyong komunidad, at makapag-iwan ng kaunting ngiti sa panahon ng inyong pagdadalamhati,” Go added.
He likewise expressed his gratitude to former president Rodrigo Duterte for signing the Bureau of Fire Protection Modernization Act of 2021. The senator then reassured the Filipinos that the bureau will be more equipped in addressing and preventing fire-related situations.
Under Republic Act No. 11589, which Go primarily authored and co-sponsored, the BFP is mandated to undergo a 10-year modernization program that includes acquiring and upgrading fire equipment, recruiting more fire personnel, and providing specialized training, among others.
“Ang gamit po (ay) nabibili ‘yan, ang pera po kikitain natin ‘yan magtrabaho lang po tayo, magsipag lang tayo. Pero ‘yung perang kikitain ay hindi po nabibili ang buhay. Ang nawalang buhay ay wala na po. A lost life is a lost life forever. Kaya mag-ingat tayo,” Go stressed.
“Pasalamat tayo sa Panginoon na buhay tayo. At magtulungan tayo dahil kilala po ang Pilipino sa pagtutulungan. Magtulungan lang po tayong lahat para makaahon mula sa krisis, mga kababayan ko,” he encouraged.
Meanwhile, Go, who chairs the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, offered to help those in need of medical attention. The senator highlighted that there are five Malasakit Centers in the city where they may avail of medical assistance programs by the government.
Principally authored and sponsored by Senator Go, Republic Act No. 11463, otherwise known as the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, mandates all hospitals administered and managed by the Department of Health nationwide and the Philippine General Hospital in Manila City to open their own Malasakit Centers.
Other public hospitals may also establish their own centers provided they meet a standard set of criteria and guarantee the sustainability of their operations. The program has so far assisted over seven million Filipinos since its inception in 2018, according to the DOH.
The Malasakit Centers are located at Tondo Medical Center, Philippine General Hospital, Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center, and in San Lazaro Hospital.
In line with his efforts to bolster the health sector, Go mentioned that DOH has identified several barangays in the city where it will establish Super Health Centers, including Valeriano Fugoso, Barrio Magsaysay, Esperanza, and Maria Clara.
Through the collective efforts of fellow lawmakers, sufficient funds had been allocated for 307 Super Health Centers in 2022 and 322 in 2023. DOH, the lead implementing agency, identifies the strategic areas where they will be constructed.
Super Health Centers offer database management, out-patient, birthing, isolation, diagnostic (laboratory: x-ray, ultrasound), pharmacy, and ambulatory surgical unit. Other available services are eye, ear, nose, and throat (EENT) service; oncology centers; physical therapy and rehabilitation center; and telemedicine, where remote diagnosis and treatment of patients will be done.
Lastly, as Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, Go supported several projects in the city, including road improvements, the construction of a multipurpose building, and improvements of public buildings within the Department of Justice.
He also supported the acquisition of a multipurpose vehicle, rescue patrol, and an ambulance.
“Hinding-hindi ko po sasayangin ‘yung pagkakataon na magserbisyo sa inyo. Magtatrabaho po ako sa Pilipino. Sanay po ako sa trabaho… iyon po ang pwede kong ialay sa inyo, ang aking kasipagan po sa pagtatrabaho. Kaya magtulungan lang po tayo,” Go reassured.
On the previous day, Go was in Pasig City where he personally assisted indigents.
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