Press Release
December 2, 2021

Bong Go visits fire victims in Mandaluyong City to provide immediate support as he vows to continue helping communities in distress

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go continues his efforts to assist victims of disasters and other crisis situations. During a visit on Wednesday, December 1 in Mandaluyong City, Go emphasized that he has always prioritized genuine public service for those who need government attention the most especially the poor, the needy, the helpless and the hopeless.

The said community in Barangay Barangka Drive suffered from a fire incident that occured last November 20.

"Sabi ko kay (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Benjamin Abalos, Jr.) kanina, magkasama tayo sa pagseserbisyo. Hindi ko kayo iiwanan dahil mahal ko ang aking kapwa Pilipino. Gaya ng aking ipinangako, kahit saang sulok kayo ng Pilipinas, pupuntahan ko kayo para makatulong at makapag-iwan ng ngiti sa oras ng inyong pagdadalamhati," said Go.

"Ang Panginoon lang talaga ang nakakaalam kung hanggang saan na lang ang buhay ng tao. Pero 'wag tayong mawalan ng pag-asa dahil marami pa Siyang magagandang plano sa atin. Ang importante, maganda ang ating hangarin sa ating kapwa tao," he continued.

Go's office organized a relief operation at the Bonifacio Javier National Highschool, where he and his staff distributed financial assistance, meals, food packs, vitamins and masks to a total of 105 families or 408 fire victims in batches.

They also gave select recipients new pairs of shoes or bicycles for commuting and provided others with computer tablets for their children's blended learning activities.

Meanwhile, personnel from the Department of Social Welfare and Development extended separate financial assistance to the victims. The Department of Agriculture also offered them zero-interest loans under its Agri-Negosyo program and provided them supplies of fresh vegetables.

In addition, the National Housing Authority conducted assessments for potential beneficiaries of its emergency housing program.

The senator, who is Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, encouraged the families to take care of their health as they try to rebuild their homes and lives. He urged them to get vaccinated once eligible to protect themselves from COVID-19 and its emerging variants. In particular, he cautioned against the Omicron variant, which was first detected in South Africa on November 24 and has since been a global concern.

"Congratulations sa Metro Manila at mahigit 94 percent na ang bakunado. Pero 'wag tayo maging kumpiyansa dahil mayroon nanaman nababalitaan na bagong variant, itong Omicron, na mabilis daw maghawa. Kaya importante na bakunado kayong lahat. Kung ano 'yung bakuna sa harap ninyo, magpaturok kayo," urged Go.

He went on to offer medical assistance to all fire victims and advised them to seek additional aid at any of the 31 Malasakit Centers in Metro Manila, including the one at the city's National Center for Mental Health.

The Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop for the medical assistance programs offered by the DSWD, Department of Health, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. The program was institutionalized through the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019 which Go primarily authored and sponsored.

"Kapapanganak ko lang tapos nun, one week later nagkaroon ng sunog. Kahit hirap ako, masira 'yung tahi, kinarga ko 'yung mga anak ko. Hindi ko iniisip na sumuko, basta maligtas sila. Siyempre masakit masunugan ng bahay pero nagpapasalamat ako na ligtas ang mga bata," shared Sarah Agquis, 35.

"Tuwang-tuwa kami dahil binigyan 'yung isa sa mga anak ko ng tablet. Parang maiyak ako 'yung nakikita ko sinuotan pa siya ng sapatos. Talagang nakakabilib na may isang senator na pumunta sa amin. Maraming salamat Senator Bong Go sa lahat ng tulong na ibinigay niyo," she continued.

In the end, the senator commended various individuals who came together to assist the victims such as Deputy Speaker and District Representative Neptali Gonzales II, MMDA Chairman Abalos, Mayor Carmelita Abalos, Councilor Benjamin Abalos III, former Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission Chairman and senatorial aspirants Greco Belgica, Robin Padilla and Reynante "Rey" Langit.

He also thanked Punong Barangay Darwin Fernandez and Kagawads Judith Barojabo, Antonio De Vera, Ferdinand Flores, Michael De Castro, Ma. Lorna Gulane and Lyndon Bonifacio, among others. He assured that all barangay officials will receive Christmas incentives from the Office of the President in recognition of their hard work and service to their constituents.

"Huwag kayong mahiyang lumapit sa akin. Alam niyo, isa lang ang sikreto ko na itinuro sa akin ni Pangulong (Rodrigo) Duterte, 'mahalin mo lang ang kapwa mo Pilipino at hinding-hindi ka magkakamali'. Just do what is right for the benefit of the Filipino people," said Go.

"Ang interes ng bayan, ng bawat Pilipino ang pangunahin naming konsiderasyon ni Pangulong Duterte sa lahat ng aming ginagawa. Asahan niyo na marami pa kaming ipapasang magagandang batas para sa ikabubuti ninyo," he stressed.

To reduce the risk of fire-related injuries and deaths, Go principally authored and co-sponsored the bill which became Republic Act No. 11589 or the "Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Modernization Act".

The measure, which President Duterte signed into law last September 11, provides for a multi-year program to transform the BFP into a modern institution through the acquisition of modern fire equipment, expansion of the BFP's personnel, and provision of specialized training for its firefighters.

It also directs the BFP to conduct monthly fire prevention campaigns and information drives in partnership with the Department of Interior and Local Government and local government units.

Furthermore, to improve public service delivery and ensure the safety of residents in times of emergency, Go likewise supported the construction of a four-storey multipurpose hall in Mandaluyong City, in his capacity as Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance.

His team conducted a similar relief operation for 213 other fire victims in the city last November 16. All distributions were conducted in strict compliance with the necessary health and safety protocols against COVID-19.

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