Sunday, January 5, 2020

Senator spends first weekend of 2020 helping fire victims

After visiting fire victims in Pasay City and Tondo in Manila, Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go rushed to Barangay 833 in Pandacan, Manila to provide aid and assistance to over 95 families who are temporarily staying at the barangay hall.

“I came from Pasay and Tondo, now I’m here in Pandacan. I’m here to solve your problems,” Go told fire victims whose houses were razed last Dec. 28. Go spent the first weekend of 2020 providing much needed assistance to fire victims, first in Pasay City, then in Tondo and Pandacan, Manila. He is scheduled to visit two more communities in Metro Manila today.

“Even if you’re in the farthest corner of the Philippines, I will go to you for as long as I can give help and bring smiles amid your grief,” Go said as he explained that he regularly visits victims of fires and calamities to listen to their concerns and provide solutions to their daily struggles. Food, groceries and cash assistance were given to the families while students will also receive a new set of school uniforms and school supplies so they can immediately resume their studies.

“My countrymen, I brought something for you. This is from me and my friends, just a little financial assistance, grocery items and food for you to receive,” he said.

Go also offered to pay for the fare of those who want to go home to their respective provinces to start their lives anew. “Manila is too crowded already. This is among the reasons why fire incidents occur as houses are too close to each other. In the provinces, the air is fresh and there is land and space available,” Go said.

The senator also shared the services offered by Malasakit Centers and assured the public that the government will help provide financial and medical assistance to those in need. “Did someone get hurt? What matters is no one got hurt. Things and appliances can be bought, but not life. About the Malasakit Center, we have 56 Malasakit Centers and we have one at the  Philippine General Hospital. Just go there and ask for help,” he said, adding  the four government agencies – the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), PhilHealth, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) and Department of Health (DOH) – are now all under one roof of the Malasakit Center ready to provide assistance to those in need.

Go further explained that the vision driving the Malasakit Center program is to cut the time, money and effort spent by Filipinos in moving from one office to another just to seek government financial and medical assistance. With the medical assistance programs coming from the four participating agencies in the Malasakit Center, the target is to reduce the hospital bill of indigent patients to the lowest possible amount without wasting time seeking help from different government offices.

“Previously, Filipinos are compelled to seek loans in order to pay for their hospital bills. Now, President Duterte has allocated funds at the PGH, so patients can be discharged even if there is still a balance left in their hospital bills. Just go to the Malasakit Center, which targets zero balance,” he added.

Go also emphasized that the Malasakit Center caters to all Filipinos. “What’s the qualification? Every Filipino is qualified,” Go said. “No politics involved. Anyone can ask for help. There are express lanes for disabled and senior citizen,” he added.

In addition to the assistance provided by the senator to fire victims, government agencies were also present to provide additional assistance to the fire victims. Aside from the DSWD which will provide financial and relief assistance, the National Housing Authority (NHA) was also present to provide assistance for housing materials.

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will provide technical education opportunities to those who may want to pursue skills training while the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) provided livelihood assistance to help victims recuperate from the tragedy. Go also shared with the Metro Manila residents the availability of the Pasig River ferry system, which will provide an additional commute option for Filipinos. The senator said they are studying the process of offering the service for free or at a minimum cost.

“Let’s talk about this ferry system, which will offer free rides or low fares, which according to President Duterte will be enough to buy fuel, so Filipinos can have something to ride in going anywhere in Metro Manila,” Go said.

The senator also added that to ease traffic congestion on Metro Manila roads, he sees additional ferry boats as an option. “To avoid traffic, we will get more ferry boats. We have already opened and we have five ferry boats that will offer free rides until the end of the month. After which, the President and I will ensure that low fares will be charged so you can save time and money,” he said.

Go also reminded residents of Metro Manila that keeping the Pasig River clean is a shared responsibility of everyone.

“We will clean the Pasig River, but we need your cooperation. Let’s help each other. Observe discipline and avoid throwing trash anywhere,” the senator said.