Press Release
December 9, 2023

Bong Go advocates for continued support for recovering disaster victims as he visits Pamplona, Cagayan to help typhoon-affected communities

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go personally led a relief operation in Pamplona, Cagayan on Thursday, December 7 for residents still recovering from Typhoon Egay. The senator was joined by Pamplona Mayor Digna Puzon Antonio and Vice Mayor Arnie Angelica Fernandez, Santa Praxedes Mayor Esterlina Aguinaldo, Sanchez Mira Mayor Abraham Bagasin, and Abulog Vice Mayor Jeff Vargas, among others.

The relief operation was held at Pamplona Cultural and Sports Center, where a total of 961 families from Pamplona, Sanchez Mira, Sta. Praxedes and Claveria were assisted.

They all received grocery packs, snacks, vitamins, shirts, masks, and balls for basketball and volleyball from the senator. There were also select recipients of a watch, shoes, bicycles, and mobile phones.

Meanwhile, through Go's initiative, the National Housing Authority extended emergency housing assistance qualified beneficiaries to help them further rebuild.

"Sinikap din natin na mabigyan sila ng National Housing Authority ng ayuda pambili ng housing materials tulad ng pako, yero at iba pa upang maisaayos muli ang kanilang mga tirahan," Go highlighted.

"Itong EHAP program, isinulong ko ito noon at patuloy na sinusuportahang mapondohan ang programa ngayon upang mas marami pang mga biktima ng sakuna ang makapagpatayo ng maayos na bahay at makabangon muli mula sa trahedya," he added.

In his speech, Go called for a whole-of-nation approach in helping communities affected by various crises and calamities to recover and rebuild faster.

"Hindi po ako pulitiko na mangangako sa inyo. Gagawin ko lang po ang aking trabaho sa abot ng aking makakaya dahil ang bisyo ko po ay magserbisyo po sa ating kapwa Pilipino," remarked Go in his speech.

"Ang dapat nating pasalamatan ngayong araw na ito ang ating mga frontliners na tumulong sa panahon ng pandemya. Sina mayor, sina vice mayor, mga konsehal, mga kapitan, mga uniformed personnel, mga military, navy, pulis, mga BHW, lahat po ng mga government workers na nagtulung-tulong para maabot natin itong kinatatayuan natin. Of course, ang ating NHA rin po," he continued.

In the Senate, Go filed Senate Bill No. 188, which seeks to establish a Department of Disaster Resilience, highlighting the importance of a focused and collaborative strategy for handling disasters. He outlined the possible duties of this department, including pre-disaster readiness, collaboration with local government units, and post-disaster recovery initiatives.

"Dito po sa disaster, alam n'yo prone po ang probinsya ng Cagayan sa bagyo. Parating tinatamaan ito ng bagyo kada taon. Nag-file po ako sa Senado ng Department of Disaster Resilience. Ito pong departamentong ito ay, kung saka-sakaling maisabatas, magkakaroon po ng cabinet-secretary level," explained Go in an interview.

"So ibig sabihin ito na pong secretary na ito ang makikipag-coordinate bago dumating ang bagyo, preposition of goods, and coordination with LGUs para ilikas po ang mga kababayan natin sa ligtas na lugar. At pag-alis ng bagyo ay restoration of normalcy kaagad at rehabilitation efforts. Hindi puro task force. Dapat may departamentong nakatutok para tuluy-tuloy po ang efforts upang tulungan sila makabangon kahit na magpalit ang administrasyon," he added, emphasizing the importance of continuity in disaster preparedness and recovery efforts.

Go also stressed the importance of prioritizing one's health, as he encouraged them to seek the services of the Malasakit Center located at Cagayan Valley Medical Center (CVMC) in Tuguegarao City for government-backed medical assistance.

Go, when he was still Special Assistant to former president Rodrigo Duterte, launched the Malasakit Centers program in 2018, with the inaugural center opening in Cebu City. It was later institutionalized under Republic Act No. 11463, which was principally authored and sponsored by Go when he won a seat in the Senate in 2019.

To date, the Department of Health (DOH) reported that these Malasakit Centers, numbering 159 in total, have assisted around ten million indigent Filipinos and counting.

Furthermore, Go cited that eight Super Health Centers were funded in the province to bring primary care, medical consultations and early disease detection closer to communities, including in Sta. Praxedes, Peñablanca, Sta. Teresita, Buguey, Lal-lo, Aparri, Sto. Niño, and Tuao.

Through the collective efforts of fellow lawmakers, local government units, and DOH, sufficient funds have been allocated for 307 Super Health Centers in 2022 and 322 in 2023. DOH, the lead implementing agency, identifies the strategic areas where they will be constructed.

He also highlighted the establishment of Regional Specialty Centers through RA 11959, which was recently signed by President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. Go is a principal sponsor and one of the authors in the Senate of the Regional Specialty Centers Act, which mandates the establishment of regional specialty centers within existing DOH regional hospitals.

In CVMC, there is an existing specialty center for cancer care. There are also other planned specialized facilities, such as cardiovascular care, renal care and transplant center, lung care, brain and spine, orthopedic center, physical rehabilitation medicine, mental health, neonatal care, trauma care, geriatric care, infectious disease and tropical medicine, and eye care.

"Kaya po ako narito ngayon dahil iyan po ang ipinangako ko sa inyo. Kahit saang sulok kayo ng Pilipinas pupuntahan ko kayo basta kaya po ng aking panahon at katawan. Umabot na po ako ng Aparri, bagyo doon. Umabot po ako ng Jolo - giyera, sunog, pagbubukas ng Malasakit Center. Umabot nga ako ng Sta. Ana, Sanchez-Mira noong mga nakaraang buwan. Tuwing bagyo rito pinupuntahan ko talaga ang probinsya ng Cagayan. At napili ko yung Pamplona ngayong araw na ito dahil hindi pa po ako nakapunta ng Pamplona, para naman po mabisita ko rin po ang mga kababayan natin dito sa Pamplona," Go expressed.

"Tutulong ako sa inyo sa abot ng aking makakaya dahil bisyo ko ang magserbisyo sa bawat Pilipino," he added.

To help boost the delivery of public service in the province, Go, vice chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, also extended his support for the construction of a revetment 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.

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