IN an activity conducted with concerned government agencies, an outreach team of Senator Christopher “Bong” Go extended aid to the sari-sari store owners in General Luna, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte whose livelihoods have been adversely affected because of COVID-19.
The team provided a total of 169 store owners with meals, vitamins, masks and face shields at the General Luna Municipal Gym on Friday, June 11. Selected beneficiaries also received new shoes or bicycles for their work or commute. Others were given computer tablets so their children can better participate in their classes under the blended learning approach.
“Alam kong sa panahon ngayon, marami ang nawalan ng trabaho at nagsara na negosyo. Bawat tao na apektado ay may pamilyang binubuhay at pinapakain. Paigtingin pa natin ang ating pagtutulungan at malalampasan din natin ang krisis na ‘to bilang isang mas matatag na bansa,” Go said in a video message.
In a separate distribution, the Department of Social Welfare and Development provided each store owner with financial assistance through its Sustainable Livelihood Program as part of the national government’s support measures for sectors hit hard by the pandemic.
The Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Trade and Industry, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, in turn, committed to provide additional aid based on their existing programs upon completing their assessments of the beneficiaries.
The Senator acknowledged the added challenge of trying to maintain a livelihood amid the ongoing crisis. He encouraged all eligible residents to get vaccinated so their community can mitigate the spread of the virus and eventually attain herd immunity at the soonest possible time.
“Ang bakuna ang susi upang unti-unti na tayong makabalik sa ating normal na pamumuhay. Ngayon, binabakunahan na natin ang mga essential workers o economic frontliners para sumigla muli ang ating ekonomiya,” continued Go.
“Binabalanse ng gobyerno ang lahat. Siyempre pinaka-importante ang buhay ng bawat tao pero naiintindihan namin na kailangan niyo rin maghanapbuhay, lalung-lalo na ‘yung mga ‘isang kahig, isang tuka’. Kaya mga kababayan, tulungan niyo ang pamahalaan at magtiwala tayo sa bakuna,” he added.
As the Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Go further pledged to assist any indigent beneficiary in need of medical care. He advised them to avail further aid at the Malasakit Center found at the Caraga Regional Hospital in Surigao City.
The Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop that aims to reduce hospital bills to the lowest possible amount. Patients may conveniently avail medical assistance from the various government agencies, including the DSWD, Department of Health, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
In his message, Go expressed gratitude to the local officials for their strong efforts in responding to the pandemic. He thanked 1st District Representative Francisco F. Matugas II, Governor Francisco T. Matugas; Vice Governor Eddie Gokiangkee, Jr.; Mayor Cecilia Rusillon; Vice Mayor Veronico Solloso; and Councilors Gloria Plaza; Fernando Tokong; Enrico Rusillon; Pastor Bioy; Arnel Figuron; Van Harold Dolera; Edmon Antipasado; and Lilia Lim, among others.
Last April 13, the same activity was held for 800 typhoon-hit residents at the General Luna Elementary School. All activities were conducted in batches to ensure compliance with all health and safety-protocols.