SEN. Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go visited flood-ravaged communities in Buguey and Santa Teresita, Cagayan province, to give hope, comfort, and aid to the victims of typhoon "Maring."

In his speech, Go, who chairs the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, 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.

He also assured the communities that the government is doing everything it can to extend assistance to expedite their recovery.

TABLET FOR YOU Sen. Christopher ‘Bong’ Go hands a child an android tablet that he can use for his blended learning during the senator’s visit in Cagayan Region to give aid to the victims of typhoon ‘Maring’.  CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
TABLET FOR YOU Sen. Christopher ‘Bong’ Go hands a child an android tablet that he can use for his blended learning during the senator’s visit in Cagayan Region to give aid to the victims of typhoon ‘Maring’. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
"Ngayon, hinding-hindi po namin sasayangin ito. Itong pagkakataon na ito na ibinigay n'yo po sa amin ni Pangulong (Rodrigo) 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 (we will not waste this opportunity that you have given me and President Duterte — we are from the province. President Duterte was the mayor of Davao and made president. In my case, I worked for him for 23 years as a staff member and later became special assistant, I became his secretary in 2016, and you elected me as a senator)," 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 (We have nothing more to ask from the Lord, He has already given everything to us. We are returning it to you, the service that you deserve. We will serve you)," the senator added.

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 (Let us not talk about politics. It is still early, we are not yet in the campaign period. Thank you very much for the endorsement, Governor (Manuel Mamba). Thank you very much, but it is still early to talk about politics...two hit us here in Cagayan. I want to prioritize our fight against the pandemic and the other crises that we are facing)," said Go.

"Noong naging senador po ako pangako ko po kahit saang sulok kayo ng Pilipinas pupuntahan ko po kayo. Ma-Batanes, ma-Aparri 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 (When I became a senator, I promised to visit you wherever you are in the country. From Batanes, Aparri to Jolo. That is our promise with President Duterte — no time will be wasted when it comes to service)," 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 setup.

As part of the 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 (milkfish), 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 checkups 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 chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, also reminded the public to keep taking precautions even if they are fully vaccinated.

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.