GEN. SANTOS CITY — Senatorial candidate Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Wednesday assured fire victims sheltered at Irineo High School in Barangay South Dadiangas, Gen. Santos City that the government will help them.
“Andito po kami para tulungan kayo makabangon (We’re here to help you rise up),” he said.
The former Special Assistant to the President (SAP) visited the makeshift evacuation area used by those who survived the 28 December 2018 fire near the Barangay South Dadiangas public market area that destroyed more than 100 houses, left 200 families homeless, and caused property damage amounting to P500,000.
Due to faulty electrical wiring and structures made of rapidly burning materials, the blaze ravaged the village very quickly. According to Bureau of Fire Protection Officer 3 Jason Bato, the fire began at around 9:00 to 9:30 AM and was placed under control by 10:05 AM on the same day. The fire reached the first alarm status.
Gen. Santos City Social Welfare and Development Office officials provided food and non-food items to victims of the fire. They also assisted the victims with regard to their other needs.
On 2 January 2019, Go and his supporters entered Irineo High School to deliver additional help to the fire victims, listen to their concerns and to uplift their spirits.
Go’s group quickly gave away clothes, shoes, grocery items, food packs, meals and cash assistance to affected families. Uniforms for students and medical assistance were committed to members of the community.
“Nandito po ako, ang mga kaibigan ko, at ang gobyerno para magmalasakit at magbigay tulong (I, my friends and the government are here to give care and help),” Go said.
“Maraming salamat sa mga tumulong na mapabuti ang kalagayan ng mga nandito sa Dadiangas,” he added.
Go asked his former colleagues in the Duterte Administration to extend additional aid to the fire victims. National Housing Authority (NHA) officials were also present to provide assistance and relocation options to residents who lost their homes.
“Nakikiusap ako sa dati kong kasamahan sa gobyerno, tulungan po natin makabangon ang mga biktima ng sunog,” he said as he coordinated with agencies such as Department of Health (DoH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) in providing their share to assist the community.
As a member of the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) jury, Go also distributed MMFF cinema passes to Barangay South Dadiangas residents. Gifts were given to birthday celebrants in the area as well.
Go stated that even though he currently is a private citizen, he would continuously be helping those who would need to have their concerns raised to the President.
“Kahit di na ako SAP, asahang tuloy pa rin ako sa pagiging tulay ninyo sa Pangulo. Handa pa rin akong tumulong sa inyo sa kahit papaanong paraan. Wala po kaming iba pang hangarin ni Pangulong Duterte kung hindi makatulong sa inyo,” Go said to interviewers.
Apart from giving away food and gifts, Go reminded the residents that a Malasakit Center will soon open at the Dr. Jorge P. Royeca Hospital that will cater to people in the Gen. Santos/South Cotabato area and the rest of Region 12.
The Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop that aims to house all concerned government agencies such as the DoH, DSWD, PAGCOR, PSCO, and Philhealth in one location to make it easier for indigent patients to avail of quick medical and financial assistance from the government.
Currently, there are 18 Malasakit Centers all over the country and Go hopes to add more to that number. If legislated into law, he plans to establish one in every province to cater to the medical needs of all Filipinos.
Aside from healthcare concerns, Go and his supporters also provided members of the community’s Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association a few tricycle units and grocery items to assist their livelihood and eventually put up their own sari-sari stores. Go also encouraged tricycle drivers to continue supporting the Duterte administration in fighting illegal drugs, criminality, and corruption.
“Malayo na narating natin pero dapat tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang pagbabago. Magtulungan tayong ilayo ang kabataan at sarili ninyo mula sa pagbebenta at paggamit ng droga. Kasama ninyo ako sa pag-ahon at pagbabagong-buhay,” he said as he joined the TODA members in a boodle fight.
Go ended his visit by reminding Barangay South Dadiangas residents that the government is there to help them.
“Huwag ninyong kalimutan na nandito ang gobyerno para tulungan kayo at nandito ako para ilapit ang mga hinaing at pangangailangan ninyo sa gobyerno. Magtulungan tayo para maiangat ang buhay ng bawat pilipino ngayong bagong taon.”