Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, chairman of the Senate Health and Demography committee, visited on Tuesday July 13 thousands of Taal evacuees in Laurel, Batangas to provide them immediate help, listen to their concerns, and offer solutions to their daily struggles.
“Mga kababayan ko, alam kong mahirap ang panahon ngayon (My countrymen, I know that the current situation is hard). Nandito pa tayo sa gitna ng pandemya, tinamaan pa tayo ng nag-aalborotong Taal. Magtulungan lang po tayo (We are still in the middle of the pandemic, we are also affected by the wrath of Taal. Let us help one another),” Go said during his speech.
Go, together with concerned agencies, conducted the relief operation at the Laurel Municipal Hall for 1,004 beneficiaries who received grocery packs, meals, masks, face shields, and vitamins from the senator’s team.
Furthermore, new pairs of shoes and bicycles were also given to select recipients. He also provided computer tablets to some beneficiaries to help their children pursue their education amid the ongoing pandemic.
Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) provided each beneficiary with financial assistance while the Department of Health (DOH) supplied them with more medicines and vitamins.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) handed out various farm inputs and produce. DA has also committed to help livestock owners in evacuating animals to temporary shelters and supply them with animal feeds.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) conducted an on-site assessment where qualified recipients will be given livelihood support. Additionally, the Jaime Ongpin Foundation gave more grocery packs.
A mother of 10 children and a fisher, Martha Endoso shared how the Taal Volcano eruption greatly affected their way of life. Despite the distress that she and her family continue to experience, Endoso further expressed her optimism that they would recover soon.
Continuing his message, Go expressed the vulnerability of the country when it comes to natural disasters as he reiterated the importance of establishing a Department for Disaster Resilience (DDR).
In 2019, Go filed Senate Bill (SB) 205, an Act seeking to create the DDR that would be primarily responsible for ensuring that local communities are well-adapted, resilient and safe from the impacts of climate change.
Under the proposed measure, the establishment of DDR will unify and streamline all responsibilities related to disaster preparedness and response, functions that are presently scattered across various departments and offices.
The DDR bill was mentioned by President Rodrigo Duterte in his past State of the Nation Address (SONA) as one of the priority measures of the administration.
Go, then, urged residents to cooperate with authorities to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
Go encouraged them to take part in the vaccination program to hasten the country’s return to normalcy.
In addition, the senator offered assistance to those with health concerns as he encouraged them to visit the nearest Malasakit Centers at Batangas Provincial Hospital in Lemery, or at Batangas Medical Center in Batangas City.
“Ngayon, kung hindi kayang operahan dito sa Batangas, magsabi lang po kayo (Now, if the surgery cannot be done in Batangas, just inform us). Huwag ho kayong mag-atubiling magpa-hospital. Huwag n’yo na pong alalahanin ang inyong babayaran… tutulong po kami (Now, if the surgery cannot be done in Batangas, just inform us. Do not hesitate in going to the hospital. Do not worry about your hospital expenses…we will help you),” Go said.
To further accelerate the economic progress of the municipality, Go, as Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, helped in pushing for the improvement of roads in Barangay Balakilong.
He also extended his support for other projects in the province, including the construction of multi-purpose buildings and rehabilitation of roads in Agoncillo, Balayan, Batangas City, Bauan, Calaca, Ibaan, Lipa City, Mabini, Mataas na Kahoy, Nasugbu, San Juan, San Luis, San Nicolas, Santo Tomas, Taal, and Tuy; construction of potable water system in Balete; improvement of public market in Cuenca; acquisition of one ambulance unit in Ibaan; rehabilitation of flood mitigation structures in Batangas City, Lobo, and San Juan; and improvement of public parks and plazas in San Nicolas, among others.
Go commended local officials who continue to extend their immeasurable service to their community amid the national health crisis. Among the officials were Representative Ma. Theresa “Maitet” Collantes, Governor Hermilando “Dodo” Mandanas, Mayor Joan Amo, Vice Mayor Rachelle Ogalinola, and many others.
In 2019, Go was declared an adopted son of the CALABARZON region in a manifesto issued by the governors of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon.