SEN. Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go personally visited Biñan City in Laguna on Friday to immediately respond to the needs of communities affected by Typhoon "Jolina" (international name: "Conson").
Go, together with concerned government agencies, provided aid to 381 typhoon victims, consulted local leaders on how the national government could further support recovery efforts and assured residents that the Duterte administration would continue to deliver public service amid the crisis.
In his speech, delivered at Alonte Sports Arena, the senator also advocated the creation of a department that would focus on addressing and mitigating the impact of disasters.
Among his priority bills was Senate Bill (SB) 205 or the Department of Disaster Resilience Act, which aims to improve and streamline the country's disaster-preparedness mechanisms.
"Huwag na nating hintayin pa na panibagong bagyo o pagbaha na naman ang dumating sa buhay natin. Kailangan po magkaroon ng Cabinet secretary-level na departamento para rito (Let us not wait for another typhoon to hit us. There is a need to have a Cabinet secretary-level department for this)," Go stressed.
Go also reassured the beneficiaries that the Duterte administration will continue to support underprivileged communities to help them recover from disasters amid the ongoing pandemic.
"Pumunta po ako rito sa Biñan para sa mga natamaan ng bagyo...At huwag ho kayong magpasalamat sa amin ni Pangulong Duterte. Kami po ang magpapasalamat sa inyo dahil binigyan n'yo po kami ng pagkakataon na makapagserbisyo po sa inyo ( I came here to Biñan for those impacted by the typhoon...And do not thank President Duterte and me. We should be the ones to thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you)," he said.
"Sabi ko nga, trabaho po namin 'yan. Pinasok namin ito. Obligasyon namin ang magserbisyo po sa inyong lahat (As I have said, this is our job. We took it upon ourselves. It is our obligation to serve all of you)," he added.
Biñan City Mayor Arman Dimaguila expressed his gratitude towards Senator Go for his efforts to help in any way he could to support communities in distress.
"Marami na akong inabutang opisyales sa national. Kalimitan, makikilala ka lang kapag pupunta rito. Kalimitan pagkatapos ng usapan, tapos na. Pero kay Sen. Bong Go, ako ang napanood niya sa TV, siya ang tumawag at nandirito na ang tulong niya para sa atin (I have met many officials from the national level. Most of the time, they only get to know us if they go here. But, with Sen. Bong Go, he sees me on television, he calls me up and he already brings his aid for us)," Dimaguila said.
"Sen. Bong Go, ang Biñan ay susuporta sa iyo hindi dahil sa pinadala mo; hindi dahil sa tulong. Kaming mga taga-Biñan, hindi kami tumitingin sa materyal na bagay. Tumitingin kami sa pakikisama, at pagmamahal na tunay, at pagpapakita ng malasakit (Sen. Bong Go, Biñan will support you not because of what you have brough; not because of your help. We the people of Biñan, we do not gauge material things. We gauge camaraderie, true care and visible compassion)," Dimaguila added.
Go acknowledged various officials for their efforts in helping constituents, including Gov. Ramil Hernandez, Rep. Len Alonte, Vice Gov. Karen Agapay, Vice Mayor Angelo Alonte, and barangay (village) and other local officials, among others.
"Ako'y nagpapasalamat kay Sen. Bong Go dahil isa siya sa mga lingkod bayan na tunay na tumutupad sa kanyang sinumpaang tungkulin para sa ating bayan (I am grateful to Sen. Bong Go because he is one of the public servants who truly perform their sworn duties for our nation)," Alonte attested while recalling the times when Go consistently responded to the various needs of the people of Laguna in the past.
Go's outreach team enforced necessary health protocols while distributing grocery packs, meals, face masks, face shields and vitamins. There were also selected beneficiaries, who received shoes, bicycles and computer tablets.
Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) provided financial assistance and grocery packs. The Department of Health (DoH) supplied medicines, vitamins and face masks while the Department of Agriculture gave agricultural products to the beneficiaries.
Livelihood support will be given to qualified individuals, who were assessed by the Department of Trade and Industry. The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) delivered fresh vegetables to the typhoon victims and livelihood equipment such as boats and fishing nets for fisherfolk.
As chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, Go reminded the public to prioritize health and take part in the national vaccination program against Covid-19.
He then encouraged residents to seek medical care at Laguna Medical Center in Santa Cruz or at San Pablo City General Hospital in San Pablo City where there were Malasakit Centers ready to serve them.
The Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop, which provides convenient access to the medical assistance programs of the DSWD, the DoH, the PCSO and the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. It seeks to reduce a hospital bill to the lowest possible amount by covering various patient services and expenses.