SEN. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go commiserated with and aided victims of fire incidents in Barangay San Antonio, San Pedro City, Laguna, and Quiricada Street, Sta. Cruz in Manila where he distributed grocery packs and financial assistance.
In San Pedro City, where 164 houses were razed by fire and 169 families were affected, Go said aside from the food and financial aid he initially extended to the victims, he would also take care of the school supplies and uniforms of the affected children so that they could immediately resume school.
“Sino po rito ang mga estudyante? Ako na rin po ang magbibigay sa inyo ng uniporme at mga supplies,” he said. He also told those who wanted to return to their provinces that he would help pay for their transportation expenses.
As for the families who lost their homes, Go said he had coordinated with the National Housing Authority regarding the relocation sites for them. The Department of Trade and Industry will also provide livelihood assistance to eligible victims.
Go encouraged victims who were injured or those who needed medical attention to avail of the services of a Malasakit Center, a one-stop shop hosting concerned government agencies that provide medical assistance to those in need.
The senator was accompanied by representatives from various government agencies to provide additional assistance to the residents.
During an ambush interview, Go was asked how he felt about the “superhero” tag given to him because of his continuing visits to victims of disasters nationwide.
Go downplayed the compliment, saying, “Do not consider me as a hero. Public servant nyo lang po ako. Ituring niyo lang ako na kaibigan. Serbisyo lang po ako. 24 hours a day po ang serbisyo ko (I am just your public servant. Consider me a friend. I am at your service. My service is 24 hours).”
As for the recent repatriation of undocumented overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from the Middle East who were victimized by illegal recruiters, Go said it only intensified his desire to push for the creation of an executive department focused on addressing concerns of migrant workers.
“Ingat po sa mga illegal recruiters. Huwag kaagad sumakay sa mga offers na alanganin. That’s why I’m pushing for the Department of OFWs (DOFW), not only para sa documented na Pilipino na nasa abroad pero para sa mga undocumented. Kawawa sila. Hindi sila makauwi. Kung merong departamento na tututok sa ganito, ito na po ang lalapitan nila (That’s why I’m pushing for the Department of OFWs (DOFW), not only for the documented Filipinos abroad but for the undocumented as well. I pity them. They can’t go home. If there is a department that will attend to this, then they have somewhere to go to).”
One of Go’s first legislative measures filed in the 18th Congress is Senate Bill 202 or the “Department of Overseas Filipinos Act of 2019.” Senate Bill 202 seeks to address concerns of overseas Filipinos, such as the need to improve coordination among concerned offices in responding to the needs, particularly of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
The bill proposes that the following agencies and their powers and functions, funds and appropriations, records, equipment, property, and personnel will be transferred to the new department to be established: Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Commission on Filipino Overseas, International Labor Affairs Bureau of the Department of Labor and Employment and National Reintegration Center for OFWs.