Senator and chair of the Senate Committee on Health Christopher “Bong” Go, through a video call on September 8, 2020, spoke with displaced communities in Sta. Cruz and Sampaloc, Manila and discussed how to keep themselves safe and prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Members of Go’s office visited and handed out aid to 49 families who lost their homes after a fire engulfed parts of Sta. Cruz, Manila. The distribution of assistance was conducted in compliance with strict health protocols imposed by the government to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
Three hundred affected residents were provided with masks, medicine packs, food packs and cash assistance while some attendees from among the poorest of the poor received bicycles. Motorcycle backriding barriers were also distributed to select motorcycle riders.
In addition to this, the Department of Social Welfare and Development gave additional cash assistance through its Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation program. The fire victims are also expected to receive further emergency assistance from the Department of Trade and Industry and National Housing Authority.
Later in the day, Go’s staff visited eleven families that were also displaced when a fire broke out in Sampaloc, Manila last September 2. Thirty-six fire victims were given similar assistance.
Speaking to the local authorities present, Go reminded them to fulfill their mandates to their communities, assist victims of the disasters, and always prioritize the welfare of the poor and vulnerable sectors.
“Kung kaya’t pagdating sa serbisyo mula gobyerno, unahin natin ang interes, kapakanan at buhay ng mga mahihirap at pinaka-nangangailangan para mabigyan sila ng pagkakataong makabangon muli at maibalik sa normal ang kanilang pamumuhay,” he added.
Go also told barangay officials to ensure that critical public service delivery remains unhampered despite the ongoing public health crisis. He reminded them that he pushed for the postponement of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections in order to give officials more time to accomplish their projects and serve their constituents better.
“Yung pinangako namin sa inyo ni Pangulo [Duterte] na pag-postpone ng barangay eleksyon, ‘yan po ang inuna namin noong nakaupo po ako bilang Senador. Kulang po ‘yung dalawang taon ninyo kaya po ginawa ko po hanggang December 2022 para po may pagkakataon pa po kayong manungkulan,” said Go.
“Isa lang po ang pakiusap ko sa inyo, ‘wag ninyo po pabayaan ang mga nasunugan hanggang makabalik sila sa kanilang mga bahay, kayo po ‘yung takbuhan nila mga barangay officials wala ng iba, kaya ‘wag po natin sila pabayaan,” Go further appealed.
Republic Act 11462, co-authored and co-sponsored by Go, was signed by President Duterte on December 2019. The law postpones the May 2020 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections to December 2022.
In a video call to the families displaced by fires, Go stressed the importance of the community working together to stop the spread of COVID-19, and reminded everyone to continue diligently following the government-implemented health and safety protocols despite reports of the country beginning to flatten its curve of COVID-19 infections.
“Huwag tayo maging kampante, hindi pa tapos ang laban. Mas paigtingin pa natin ang pag-implementa ng health and safety protocols para tuluyang maitigil na ang pagkalat ng COVID-19,” he said.
“Cooperate lang po tayo by wearing masks, social distancing at ‘wag na pong lumabas kung hindi kailangan para po hindi magkahawaan,” he added.
Citing medical experts, the Senator said properly wearing the right kind of mask decreases the risk of catching and spreading the virus by 85%. With social distancing and the use of face shields, the risk may be reduced by more than 90%.
Recently, he urged concerned agencies to boost local industries and support local manufacturers of medical supplies by distributing free masks to the poorest and most vulnerable communities.
Go assured that poor and vulnerable sectors would be given access to COVID-19 vaccines once it becomes available.
“Kaunting tiis lang po, dahil pag meron na pong vaccine, uunahin namin ang mga mahihirap, ‘yung mga mahihirap kasi kayo po ‘yung vulnerable at kailangan magtrabaho at lumabas,” he pledged.
In addition, Go’s office also provided similar assistance on September 9 to 131 families comprised of 406 individuals who were affected by a fire incident in Barangay Tugatog, Malabon City.