The Office of Senator Christopher “Bong” Go mounted another relief effort in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental, on 22 October for households impacted by the crisis.
In a video message during an activity, Go acknowledged that the pandemic has plunged many Filipinos into poverty and vowed to work with the Duterte administration to pursue actions that will ensure the needs of the poor and marginalized are addressed and not forgotten in the path to recovery.
“’Yung mga mahihirap, sila po ang pinaka-apektado ng sitwasyon ngayon. Gustuhin man nilang maging ligtas, pilit silang lumalabas upang makahanap ng kabuhayan. Bukod sa takot sa Covid-19, takot rin silang magutom. Kung kaya’t pagdating sa serbisyo mula gobyerno, dapat talaga silang gawing prayoridad,” Go said.
“Unahin natin silang pagsilbihan para mabigyan sila ng pagkakataong makabangon muli at maibalik sa normal ang kanilang pamumuhay. Sa mga pinaka-nangangailangan, kayo ang palagi naming uunahin ni Pangulong (Rodrigo) Duterte. Gagawin namin ang lahat sa abot ng aming makakaya para matulungan kayo malampasan ang krisis na ito,” he vowed.
The senator’s team distributed meals, vitamins, masks and face shields to a total of 1,550 residents at the Manuel Lugod Central School. They gave select residents new pairs of shoes and bicycles. They also gave computer tablets to help with children’s blended learning activities.
In addition, personnel from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) handed out financial and livelihood assistance through its Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation and Sustainable Livelihood programs. The Department of Agriculture also gave away seedlings.
The Department of Trade and Industry and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, on the other hand, conducted assessments for their various assistance programs.
A similar operation was also held in Talisayan and Cagayan de Oro City earlier that week, in which Go’s staff provided relief to hundreds of indigent residents and hog farmers.
The senator, who heads the Senate Committee on Health, offered further assistance to those with urgent medical concerns. He strongly advised them to seek the services of the Malasakit Center at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center or J.R. Borja General Hospital in Cagayan de Oro City where they may conveniently avail of the medical assistance programs offered by the government.
The Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop which aims to reduce the hospital bills of poor and indigent patients to the lowest amount possible. It brings together the national agencies which offer medical assistance, namely the DSWD, Department of Health, Philippine Health Insurance Corp., and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, under one roof.
The program was institutionalized under Republic Act No. 11463, also known as the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, which Go principally authored and sponsored. It has assisted some 3 million patients nationwide since its launch in 2018.
“Natutuwa ako na mayroon na tayong 144 na Malasakit Centers sa buong bansa. Hindi pumipili ang Malasakit Center ng tutulungan. Binabalik lang namin ang pera niyo sa inyo sa pamamagitan ng maayos at maaasahang serbisyo. Kaya sa mga poor at indigent patients diyan, puntahan niyo na lang ang Malasakit Center dahil para talaga sa inyo ito.”