Press Release
August 2, 2023

'Tutulong ako sa abot ng aking makakaya' -- Bong Go personally assists disaster victims in Sanchez Mira, Cagayan

"Mga kababayan ko nandito po ako para makabigay ng kaunting tulong sa mga apektado ng bagyo," Senator Christopher "Bong" Go said during relief operations for communities affected by the typhoon in Sanchez Mira, Cagayan on Monday, July 31. On the same day, Go also extended assistance to typhoon victims in Santa Ana town.

In light of the recent devastation caused by Typhoon Egay, Go emphasized his commitment to extend assistance to those affected to the best of his capacity. This comes as a response to the ongoing crisis, where several provinces have been declared under a state of calamity due to extensive fatalities and damage in the wake of the typhoon and the subsequent monsoon rains.

"Gaya ng ginagawa ko po noon, tuwing mayroong bagyo, sinusubukan ko talagang makabisita dito at makatulong. Noon, sa Aparri at iba't ibang bayan pa," Go said even as he assured residents that his office is committed to conducting relief efforts, just like what they did during previous calamities.

Earlier, Cagayan was declared under a state of calamity due to destruction caused by Typhoon Egay, as recommended by its Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council.

Despite the somber situation, he expressed his hopes that the efforts of his office and the government can bring a slight smile to those grieving, underlining the importance of empathy and understanding during these trying times.

"Alam ko malungkot ang mga kababayan natin, pero kapag nakikita kong masaya sila masaya na rin po ako. Kaya po ako narito para tumulong po sa abot ng aking makakaya, mapakinggan ang inyong mga hinaing, isulong ang mga proyektong makakapagpaunlad ng inyong lugar, ilapit ang mga serbisyo ng gobyerno na makakatulong sa inyong muling pagbangon, at makapag-iwan ng ngiti sa oras ng inyong pagdadalamhati," he said.

The senator also took time to express his gratitude towards local officials who have been working tirelessly to provide service to their constituents amid these trying times.

He also acknowledged the unwavering commitment to public service of several officials including Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba, Sanchez Mira Mayor Abraham Bagasin and Vice Mayor Asela Sacramed.

Go urged that the national government and the local government units must work hand in hand to aid the affected communities.

"Nandito po ang ating gobernador, ang ating LGU, local government para makikipagtulungan po, maiahon po natin ang ating mga kababayan. Magtulungan lang po tayo," said Go.

Meanwhle, Go stressed the need to establish the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR) in order to improve the country's readiness and ability to respond to future disasters. He emphasized that this department would consolidate and streamline efforts in disaster management, resulting in a more productive and efficient response to natural calamities.

Senate Bill No. 188, a proposed measure of the senator, aims to create a department that will unify all necessary functions and responsibilities currently dispersed among different agencies focused on disaster-related matters.

Aside from the measure, Go is also pushing for the passage of SBN 193, which seeks the creation of permanent, safe and properly equipped evacuation centers to be mandatory in every municipality, city and province across the Philippines.

Go and his team held a relief activity at the municipal gym of Sanchez Mira, where they assisted 1,500 typhoon victims. The beneficiaries received food packs, masks, vitamins, and snacks. Cellular phones, shoes, bicycles, watches, shirts, and balls for basketball and volleyball were also distributed to several individuals.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Agriculture extended assistance to the beneficiaries.

Go offered to further assist those with health concerns as he advised them to visit Cagayan Valley Medical Center (CVMC) in Tuguegarao City where there is a Malasakit Center ready to help them with their hospital expenses.

Malasakit Centers bring together representatives from DSWD, Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO). These one-stop shops aim to support impoverished patients in reducing their hospital bills to the lowest possible amount.

With 158 centers established throughout the country, the Malasakit Centers program has already assisted over seven million particularly poor and indigent patients, according to DOH.

The program was initiated by Go and later institutionalized under Republic Act No. 11463, which he principally authored and sponsored in the Senate, to provide more Filipinos convenient access to medical assistance from the government.

Go, vice chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, has supported several infrastructure initiatives in the province including the construction of a multipurpose building in Sanchez Mira.

He also supported the construction of a revement along the Cagayan River; installation of street lights in Lal-lo; construction of various roads in Sta Teresita, Aparri, Amulung, Baggao, Calayan, Gonzaga, Iguig, Santa Ana, Enrile, Tuao and Tuguegarao City; construction of a river control structure at the Zinundungan River; installation of streetlights in Camalaniugan; and upgrading of the CVMC.

Despite the challenging circumstances, Go encouraged Filipinos to remain hopeful and resilient, drawing strength from the unity and cooperation of fellow Filipinos.

"At 'wag kayong mawalan ng pag-asa mga kababayan ko. Magtulungan lang po tayo, sino ba naman ang magtutulungan kung 'di tayo lang po kapwa natin Pilipino," he said.

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