IN line with the Duterte administration's commitment to address insurgencies and other local conflicts in various areas, the team of Sen. Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go distributed assistance to hundreds of families under the Retooled Community Support Program in the far-flung areas of Basey, Samar on July 14 as part of the senator's efforts to support conflict-affected local communities.

Go's staff conducted the relief operation at Sitio Borabod, Barangay Mabini where they assisted 307 families.

Go's outreach team distributed meals, masks, face shields and vitamins to the beneficiaries. In addition, some recipients received new pairs of shoes.

In his video message, Go urged those who were on the priority list to get vaccinated against Covid-19 for the country to achieve herd immunity.

"Alam ko pong mahirap ang panahon ngayon. Nasa krisis po tayo dulot po ng Covid-19 pandemic. Mga kababayan ko, ang bakuna po ang pag-asa natin dito. Magtiwala ho kayo sa bakuna. Ang bakuna po ang tanging susi para unti-unti na tayong makabalik sa ating normal na pamumuhay (I know the situation now is difficult. We are undergoing a crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic. My countrymen, the vaccine is our hope in this situation. Trust the vaccine. This is the only key for us to slowly return to our normal lives)," said Go.

"Ang ating target ngayon ay makamtan natin ang population protection at herd immunity po. Sana po bago mag-Pasko para naman po sumaya ang ating Pasko (Our current target is to achieve population protection and herd immunity. Hopefully, we can achieve this before Christmas in order for it to be merry)," he added.

Through its representatives for the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation program, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) gave financial assistance to each beneficiary.

The Department of Trade and Industry assessed eligible recipients that would benefit from its "Pangkabuhayan sa Pagbangon" at Ginhawa program.

Likewise, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority offered scholarship grants to qualified beneficiaries. The Office of Civil Defense also distributed health kits.

As an advocate for quality health care, the senator advised the beneficiaries, particularly the poor and indigent patients, to visit the Malasakit Center at the Samar Provincial Hospital in Catbalogan City for medical needs and hospital billing assistance.

Under the Malasakit Centers Act, all hospitals administered and managed by the Department of Health (DoH) and the Philippine General Hospital were mandated to have its own Malasakit Center that shall provide convenient access to medical assistance programs offered by concerned agencies such as DoH, DSWD, Philippine Health Insurance Corp. and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

To boost infrastructure development needed to help address root causes of insurgency in the provinces, Go, as vice chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, pushed for the funding of numerous projects in the area such as the rehabilitation and improvement of the farm-to-market road from Barangay New San Agustin to Barangay Cogon as well as the construction and concreting of the access road from Literon-Antol in Calbiga to Canlobo-Layo-Magdawat-Pelaon of Pinabacdao and to Mabini in Basey, connecting Lulugayan Falls and Kanyawa Cave to Macatingol Cave and Sohoton Cave.

He also supported initiatives to improve roads and other public structures throughout the province such as the construction of a multipurpose hall in Catbalogan City and Tarangnan, concreting of roads in Daram, construction of farm-to-market roads in Pinabacdao, construction of a shoreline-protection structure in Tagapul-an and the construction of a public park in Tarangnan, among others.

Several local government officials were commended by Go for their service to their constituents during this time of crisis. Among the officials were Rep. Sharee Ann Tan, Gov. Reynolds Michael Tan, Vice Gov. Angelica Gomez, Mayor Luz Ponferrada and Vice Mayor Honesto Zeta, among others.

On June 12, Go sent his outreach team to deliver assistance to 10 displaced families, who were affected by a recent fire incident in Basey.