Senator Christopher “Bong” Go personally visited the ravaged parts of Buguey and Santa Teresita, Cagayan province on Monday, October 18, to give hope, comfort, and aid to the victims of Typhoon Maring.
In a speech during the activities, Go called on Filipinos to stand in unity, saying that the country is facing various converging crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters. He pledged his continued support for the province whose people are still recovering from other recent calamities.
“Uulitin ko lang po, mawalang galang na po sa inyong lahat. Huwag ho kayong magpasalamat sa amin. Kami po ang magpasalamat sa inyo dahil binigyan n’yo po kami ng pagkakataon na makapagserbisyo po sa inyo,” Go said.
He also assured the community that the government is doing everything it can to extend the appropriate assistance to expedite their recovery.
“Ngayon, hinding-hindi po namin sasayangin ito. Itong pagkakataon na ito na ibinigay n’yo po sa amin ni Pangulong Duterte – mga probinsyano lang po kami. Si Pangulong Duterte isa po siyang mayor sa Davao na ginawang presidente. Ako naman po, 23 years na nagtatrabaho po sa kanya bilang staff n’ya po at naging special assistant, naging secretary po sa kanya noong 2016, ginawa n’yo pong senador,” he explained.
“Wala na po kaming hihilingin pa sa Panginoon, ibinigay na po Niya lahat sa amin. Kaya ibabalik po namin sa inyo ‘yung serbisyo pong para sa inyo po. Magseserbisyo kami sa inyo,” he added further.
Go explained that despite his vice presidential bid, he remains focused on his duties as a senator and public servant, especially in assisting the government and the general public in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Huwag muna nating pag-usapan ‘yung pulitika. Alam mo, napakaaga pa po, wala pang campaign period. Maraming salamat po sa pag-endorso, Governor (Manuel Mamba). Maraming salamat pero ayaw ko munang pag-usapan ‘yung pulitika ngayon… dalawa ang tumama sa atin dito sa Cagayan. Gusto kong unahin muna natin malampasan ang pandemyang ito at iba pang krisis na ating hinaharap,” said Go.
“Noong naging senador po ako pangako ko po kahit saang sulok kayo ng Pilipinas pupuntahan ko po kayo. Ma-Batanes, ma-Apari hanggang Jolo pupuntahan ko po basta kaya lang po ng aking katawan at ng aking oras. Pangako namin ‘yan sa inyo ni Pangulong Duterte – walang masasayang na oras pagdating sa serbisyo,” he assured.
The senator and his team handed out meals, food packs, vitamins, masks, and face shields to 600 typhoon victims, with thousands more to be assisted in the coming days.
The activities were carried out in batches at the Buguey and Santa Teresita municipal gymnasiums in strict observance of the health and safety protocols against COVID-19.
They gave selected residents new pairs of shoes and bicycles so they can travel with ease despite the limited transportation options. They also gave some computer tablets so children can study under the blended learning set-up better.
As part of government’s response to the disaster, representatives from various national agencies extended other forms of aid. The Department of Social Welfare and Development provided each victim with financial assistance and, along with the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, separate food packs. The Department of Agriculture gave supplies of assorted vegetables, hybrid seeds and fertilizer to qualified farmers. It also turned over knapsack and power sprayers for livestock raisers, a cassava chipper machine, and recirculating rice dryer from Enhanced Kadiwa Program.
Moreover, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources provided bangus, crab, tilapia and other fingerlings and financial assistance for the construction of a tilapia hatchery.
On the other hand, the Department of Health offered free medical check-ups and handed out hygiene kits, vitamins, and masks. The Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Trade and Industry also conducted assessment of potential beneficiaries for their respective assistance programs.
The senator, who is Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, also reminded the public to keep taking precautions even if they are fully vaccinated.
“Tingnan niyo. Pababa na ang mga kaso sa Metro Manila kasi marami na ang bakunado. Nasa datos naman na ‘yung mga positibo ngayon, sila ay ‘yung hindi nagpabakuna, ‘yung nag-aantay at nagsasabi na mamaya na sila. Huwag niyo na antayin na kayo’y abutan at nakakamatay ang virus na ito,” warned Go.
“Ngayon, mayroon ng mahigit na 90 million doses ng bakuna ang dumating sa ating bansa. Mahigit 24 million na Pilipino na ang fully vaccinated. Tuloy-tuloy lang ang programang ito hanggang makamtan natin ang population protection leading to herd immunity,” he continued.
Go offered to help residents with injuries or illnesses and advised them to seek further medical assistance at the Malasakit Center at the Cagayan Valley Medical Center in Tuguegarao City.
The program was institutionalized through the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, which Go primarily authored and sponsored in the Senate. It currently has 143 operating centers, which have assisted some three million patients across the country to date.
“Kung kailangan niyo naman magpa-ospital sa Maynila, magsabi lang kayo. Hindi niyo na kailangang mag-alala dahil kami na po ang sasagot,” reassured Go.
The senator recognized various government officials for their quick response and hard work after the typhoon struck. They included Governor Mamba, Buguey Mayor Lloyd Antiporda and Vice Mayor Licerio Antiporda III, and Santa Teresita Mayor Rodrigo De Gracia and Vice Mayor Ruben Fagela.
As Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, Go supported numerous initiatives to enhance the development and improve the delivery of vital services in Cagayan such as the construction of various roads in Sta Teresita, Aparri, Amulung, Baggao, Calayan, Gonzaga, Iguig, Santa Ana, Enrile, Tuao, and Tuguegarao City; construction of a multi-purpose building in Sanchez-Mira; construction of a river control structure at the Zinundungan River; installation of streetlights in Camalaniugan; and upgrading of the CVMC.
He also committed to support the construction of the Peñablanca Super Health Center, Sta. Praxedes Super Health Center, and Sta. Teresita Super Health Center.
“Bukas ang aming opisina. Huwag kayong mag-atubiling lumapit sa amin at nandidito ang gobyernong nagmamasakit sa inyo. Tulungan niyo din si Pangulong Duterte sa mga huling buwan niya sa gobyerno. Wala siyang ibang hangarin kung hindi ang kabutihan ng bawat Pilipino at ang maiahon tayong lahat mula sa krisis na ito,” ended Go.
The senator then visited the CVMC where he also provided aid to 2,560 health workers and 700 patients while checking on the operations of the Malasakit Center there.