ON Tuesday, July 18, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go reiterated his commitment to improving housing conditions for Filipinos affected by both natural and man-made disasters during the emergency housing assistance turnover in Mawab and Nabunturan, Davao de Oro.
Go highlighted the importance of the National Housing Authority’s (NHA) Emergency Housing Assistance Program (EHAP), which offers financial aid and building materials to help families rebuild and recover quickly after losing their homes. Go was one of the officials who pushed for the program during the term of former president Rodrigo Duterte and he continues to support the funding of the program in order to further assist victims rebuild their houses.
“Mula sa iba’t ibang barangay ito na inikot ng aming opisina noon at kayo ‘yung napili ngayon na bibigyan ng assistance mula sa EHAP program. Yung matatanggap ninyo ngayon, ibili ninyo ng housing materials o ano pa man na makakatulong sa pagbangon ninyo,” he said.
Aside from the assistance provided by NHA to the beneficiaries during the relief activities at the Mawab multipurpose building and Nabunturan multipurpose building, Go’s team also distributed masks and snacks to 39 recovering fire victims. Shoes and cellular phones were also given to several recipients.
Go is also advocating for the passage of his filed Senate Bill No. 192, which aims to establish the Rental Housing Subsidy Program as a means of institutionalizing housing and social protection initiatives. This proposed measure intends to provide disaster victims with improved and affordable access to the formal housing market by offering rental subsidies.
He also cited the enactment of Republic Act No. 11589 or the Bureau of Fire Protection Modernization Act, which has enabled the agency to enhance its capabilities in addressing fire-related emergencies.
RA 11589, which Go principally authored and co-sponsored in the Senate, mandates a ten-year modernization program for the Bureau of Fire Protection, which includes acquisition of modern fire equipment, recruitment of more firefighters, and provision of specialized training, among others.
“Huwag kayong mag-alala, ang importante buhay tayo at walang nasaktan. Iyan ang importante. Ang gamit mabibili natin ‘yan, ang pera kikitain natin ‘yan. Pero ang pera na ating kikitain ay hindi mabibili ang buhay. A lost life is a lost life forever. Ang importante buhay tayo. Kaya pag-ingatan natin ang buhay na ibinigay sa atin ng Panginoon,” Go said.
Meanwhile, Go, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, also reminded the residents to prioritize their health and even encouraged them to seek the services of the Malasakit Center located at Davao de Oro Provincial Hospital branches in Laak, Montevista, Maragusan, and Pantukan; and the Davao Regional Medical Center in nearby Tagum City.
A brainchild of Go, the Malasakit Centers program provides a one-stop shop where concerned agencies, such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Health, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, are brought under one roof to ensure that medical assistance programs are more conveniently within the reach of particularly poor and indigent Filipinos.
Go is the principal author and sponsor of Republic Act No. 11463 or the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, which institutionalized the Malasakit Centers program. To date, 158 operational centers have helped more than seven million Filipinos nationwide, according to the DOH.
Go, who is also vice chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, supported various infrastructure initiatives in Davao de Oro. He was instrumental in the construction of a multipurpose building in Compostela; construction of the Monkayo, Compostela Valley-Veruela Road; and improvement of the public market in Monkayo.
Other major initiatives he supported include the construction of the Nabunturan-Maco and Nabunturan-Laak roads; installation of street lights in Nabunturan; rehabilitation of the local roads and bridges in New Bataan; and the concreting of the local access road in Pantukan.