A SERIES of relief operations were conducted from July 19 to July 20 at the Maasin City Gym in Maasin City, Southern Leyte for 855 persons with disabilities and deaf students as part of Senator Christopher “Bong” Go’s vow to help vulnerable Filipinos especially those with health concerns amid the global pandemic.
“Sa akong mga kaigsoonan na mga PWDs, sa mga deaf students dinha sa Maasin, kumusta naman mo tanan? Kabalo mo na dool mo sa among kasing-kasing ni Presidente Duterte ang mga taga Maasin, Southern Leyte kay dinha gikan ang atoang Presidente na si Presidente Rodrigo Roa Duterte.,” said Go in his video message.
(Sa mga kababayan kong PWDs, sa mga deaf students diyan sa Maasin, kumusta kayong lahat? Alam niyo naman na malapit sa puso namin ni Presidente Duterte ang mga taga-Maasin, Southern Leyte dahil diyan galing ang ating Presidente na si Presidente Rodrigo Roa Duterte)
“Alam ko na mahirap ang panahon ngayon, magtulungan lang tayo. Sino pa ba ang magtutulungan kung hindi tayo lang ding kapwa Pilipino,” he added.
As the Filipinos’ well-being is one of his top priorities, Go, Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, encouraged the beneficiaries to visit Salvacion Oppus Yñiguez Memorial Provincial Hospital in the capital city where there is a Malasakit Center ready to assist them to cover their medical expenses.
“Puntahan lang ninyo itong Malasakit Center, batas na ito na pinirmahan ni Pangulong Duterte na isinulong ko noong una. Ang Malasakit Center ay para talaga sa mga Pilipino,” said Go.
Go principally authored and sponsored the measure that became Republic Act No. 11463, otherwise known as the Malasakit Centers Act. Under the law, all DOH-run hospitals and the Philippine General Hospital are mandated to open their own Malasakit Centers. Other public hospitals may also establish their own provided they meet a standard set of criteria and can guarantee the sustainability of its operations.
“Sa mga pasyente dito, kung may bill kayo, ilapit niyo lang ito sa Malasakit Center at tutulungan kayo nito makahingi ng tulong sa mga ahensya ng gobyerno. Hindi niyo na kailangan bumiyahe para pumila sa iba’t ibang opisina. Wala itong pinipili. Basta poor at indigent patient ka, qualified ka sa Malasakit Center,” said Go.
“Hindi na kailangan pahirapan pa ang mga kababayan natin dahil pera naman nila iyan, ibinabalik lang sa kanila sa pamamagitan ng mabilis at maayos na serbisyo mula sa Malasakit Centers,” he added.
Go continued his remarks as he advised the public to remain compliant with the health preventive measures against COVID-19, such as avoiding unnecessary travels, constant washing of hands, wearing of masks and face shields when in public, and maintaining social distancing.
As necessary safety and health protocols were strictly observed, Go’s team then handed out meals, masks, face shields, and vitamins to the beneficiaries. Go also provided new pairs of shoes and bicycles to selected recipients to help them travel with ease given the limited transportation options.
Others were given computer tablets for their children to use so that they can focus better on studying for their classes under the blended learning approach.
Aside from the assistance provided by Go, several government agencies extended their support and gave additional aid to the PWDs and deaf students.
Financial assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) were given to each recipient while an on-site assessment was conducted by the staff of Department of Trade and Industry where determined beneficiaries will receive livelihood support.
The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) granted qualified individuals with scholarship grants.
A former overseas Filipino worker, Marieta Kadigal, 58, shared how an accident affected her living condition, saying “Noong wala pa pong pandemya, naging OFW po ako tapos naaksidente kaya po ngayon ako ay isang PWD. Malaki po ang difference ng pamumuhay dahil ngayon po ay umaasa lang po ako sa mga anak ko po.”
“Ako po ay nagpapasalamat nang buong puso dahil binigyan ng pansin kaming mga may kapansanan dito sa lugar namin. Taos puso po akong nagpapasalamat sa inyo, Senator Bong Go at Presidente Duterte,” Kadigal added.
As Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, Go supported various infrastructure projects in the city, including road improvements along San Isidro-Hinapu Tomas Oppus-Libertad-San Agustin, rehabilitation of Southern Leyte Provincial Hospital, construction of slaughterhouse, installation of video surveillance, and the completion of Hanginan Farm-to-Market Road.
Go also helped in the funding of more infrastructure projects in the province, such as the improvement of roads in the towns of Liloan, Malitbog, Hinundayan, San Francisco, Libagon, Pintuyan, Limasawa, Saint Bernard, Hinunangan, and Sogod; and the installation of LED solar street lights in San Ricardo.
In addition, the Senator also supported the construction of multi-purpose buildings in Libagon, Limasawa, Macrohon, Malitbog, Padre Burgos, Pintuya, and Tomas Oppus; the rehabilitation of the rural health unit in Silago; and the renovation of the municipal public market in Silago.
He, then, gave recognition to Representative Roger “Oging” Mercado, Governor Damian Mercado, Vice Governor Christopher “Coco” Yap, Mayor Nacional “Nikko” Mercado, and Vice Mayor Malone Samaco for their service to their constituents amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Mga kababayan ko, kung mayroon pa kayong kailangan nandito lang kami ni Presidente Duterte na handang magserbisyo sa inyong lahat sa abot ng aming makakaya,” Go ended.