Press Release
January 5, 2020

Government turns over assistance to quake victims in Davao del Sur; Bong Go assures public PRRD's health is OK

On behalf of President Rodrigo Duterte, Presidential son and Davao City Vice Mayor Sebastian "Baste" Duterte, accompanied by Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go, turned over on Friday, January 3, financial assistance to the municipal governments of Malalag and Padada in Davao del Sur to help earthquake victims and to fast track rehabilitation efforts in the affected areas.

The President was not able to attend the events. The younger Duterte, in his speech on behalf of the President, emphasized strength and resilience despite the trials brought about by the series of earthquakes in Mindanao.

The two officials were also accompanied by representatives from concerned government agencies as they visited the affected families and participated in the ceremonial turnover of food packs and other forms of assistance. The senator, in his message, asked the people of Padada to be strong and help each other in these trying times.

Go also assured the public that the President is in good health. "He's not feeling well for the second straight day... and he was advised by the doctor to take a rest," Go told reporters during an interview after he met the earthquake victims in Malalag.

"Sino ba namang 74 years old na hindi nagkakasakit? It's normal naman po. Rest assured wala po tayong dapat ikabahala. Nothing serious," he added.

Go and Vice Mayor Duterte went to Malalag first, where they turned over financial assistance to the LGU, and then proceeded to Padada, to also turn over financial assistance on top of what was already provided by the Office of the President to the town a month ago.

The quake victims, who gathered at the Malalag Municipal Gymnasium and at the Padada Central Elementary School Gymnasium, also received food, relief and other forms of assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

As additional help to the earthquake victims, Go offered to give assistance to those who need to undergo operations or consult medical specialists in Davao City or Manila. "Tutulungan ko kayo sa inyong mga gastusin papunta doon at pabalik, hanggang gumaling kayo," he said in his speeches in both towns.

He also announced that a Malasakit Center, a one-stop shop for medical and financial assistance, will be opened soon in Davao del Sur. At the Malasakit Center, patients can ask for help from the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Department of Health (DOH), DSWD, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

"Hindi na po ninyo kailangang pumila sa iba't ibang opisina," Go explained in his speeches adding that the goal of the Malasakit Center is to improve access of all Filipinos to quality medical services from the government, especially for indigent patients and those in need of assistance due to calamities.

The Senator and Vice Mayor Duterte also addressed requests for assistance of the municipalities, such as expansion of waterworks system for Malalag, and housing programs and reconstruction of the municipal hall for Padada. They will forward the requests to the Office of the President and relevant government agencies.

Davao del Sur and neighboring areas were hit by a series of strong earthquakes in the late part of 2019. The strongest earthquake, with 6.9 magnitude, struck on December 15.

Go shared during the interview that the President and he will be travelling from Davao City to Manila on Friday night to attend the turnover ceremony on Saturday morning for newly appointed Armed Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Felimon Santos Jr.

"Makakapagtrabaho na po siya dahil maraming dapat gawin ngayong Lunes. Bukas turnover po ng Armed Forces, and then sa Lunes, he is scheduled to sign the national budget for 2020 at the Palace," the Senator said.

"We cannot afford another delay dito sa budget. Mahirap mag-operate ng re-enacted budget. Losses po ang nangyayari. Isa po ito sa dahilan ng inflation noong nakaraang taon," he added.

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