Senator Christopher “Bong” Go supported efforts of the government to help low-income Filipinos whose lives and livelihoods have been disproportionately affected by the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Hindi po lahat ay maaaring makapaghanap ng trabaho, ngayong dahan-dahan palang bumabalik ang sigla ng ekonomiya. Kaya suportahan natin ang mga kababayan nating mayroong kasanayan sa pagnenegosyo. Turuan at bigyan natin sila ng puhunan,” began Go.
In a video message for a series of relief activities in Cabagan, San Pablo and Santa Maria in Isabela, Go further urged concerned government agencies to make it easier for micro-entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners to secure support and other forms of financial aid so they can keep local businesses afloat, improve their economic circumstances, and provide for their families.
“Sa mga makakatanggap ng tulong mula sa gobyerno, palaguin niyo ang inyong negosyo. Dalhin niyo ang kita sa inyong pamilya.
Siguraduhin niyo na magagamit ito sa tama,” he continued.
“Binabalanse ng gobyerno ang lahat — kalusugan at ekonomiya — pero mas importante ang buhay ng mga kapatid natin. Kaya suportahan po natin ang ating gobyerno. Hindi na natin kakayanin na magsarado na naman ang mga negosyo, mapuno na naman ang mga ospital, at baka bumagsak ang ating healthcare system. Iyan ang ating iniiwasan. Kaya habang nagpapabakuna kayo, huwag rin tayo magkumpiyansa,” Go reminded the public.
The Senator’s staff distributed meals, vitamins, masks and face shields to a total of 742 micro-entrepreneurs. The activities were conducted in batches at the Barangay Ngarag covered court in Cabagan, Brgy. Bungad covered court in San Pablo, and the Santa Maria Municipal Gymnasium.
They also provided selected beneficiaries new pairs of shoes, while others were equipped with bicycles so they can commute with ease. Some received computer tablets, an important educational tool, to help their children under the blended learning set-up.
In addition, personnel from the Department of Social Welfare and Development also distributed financial and livelihood assistance as part of a holistic set of interventions by the government to cushion the adverse effects of the pandemic on vulnerable sectors.
“Bilang isang public school volunteer teacher, naging mahirap ‘yung pandemya kasi wala kaming suweldo mula sa gobyerno. Pero gumagawa naman ng paraan ang asawa ko na magsasaka para may pangtustos kami sa aming pang-araw-araw. Kaya nagpapasalamat ako sa natanggap ko dahil makakatulong ito sa mga gastusin at gamot ng aking anak,” said Sarah-Jane Callueng, 25, a resident of Santa Maria.
As Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Go also offered assistance to any resident with health-related concerns. He advised them to visit the Malasakit Center at the Gov. Faustino Dy, Sr. Memorial Hospital in Ilagan City or the Southern Isabela Medical Center in Santiago City where they may avail of further aid to cover their hospital and other related expenses.
The Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop which makes it convenient to request medical assistance from the relevant agencies, namely, the DSWD, Department of Health, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
The program, which the Senator launched in 2018 and subsequently legislated in 2019, has 134 operational centers and assisted more than two million patients nationwide.
“Nung wala pa ang Malasakit Center, kailangang pang lumapit ng mga pasyente sa iba’t ibang opisina ng gobyerno para magmakaawa na tulungan sila. Lunes, pipila ‘yan sa city hall para humingi ng tulong kay mayor, Martes sa PhilHealth at Miyerkules sa PCSO,” said Go.
“Bakit ba natin sila pinapahirapan? Bakit kailangan pa nilang magmakaawa sa gobyerno kung pera naman nila ‘yan? Kaya isinulong ko sa Senado para maging batas ‘to para kahit wala na kami ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte ay tuloy-tuloy lang ang programang ito,” he continued.
The Senator went on to thank various officials for their dedicated service to their constituents. Among those present during the activities were Representative Antonio Albano; Governor Rodolfo Albano II; Vice Governor Faustino Dy III; Cabagan Mayor Christopher Mamauag and Vice Mayor Lovier Masigan; San Pablo Mayor Antonio Miro, Jr. and Vice Mayor Antonio Jose Miro; and Santa Maria Mayor Hilario Pagauitan.
As Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, Go continues to help boost infrastructure development in various regions around the country. Particularly; he supported the funding for the construction of the Balasig, Magassi, and San Antonio water systems in Cabagan; Bungad, Ballacayu, and Simanu Norte water systems in San Pablo; and Bangag water system in Santa Maria.
He also supported the rehabilitation of the provincial road in Brgy. Centro, Cabagan; construction of a slope protection structure in Limbauan and Cabagan; construction of multi-purpose buildings in San Pablo, Naguilian and Quezon; concreting of farm-to-market and other existing roads in Luna, Maconacon, Maria Aurora, Ramon, Reina Mercedes, Roxas, San Guillermo, San Isidro, San Mariano, and San Mateo; construction of bridges in Mallig, Ramon, Reina Mercedes, San Guillermo and San Mariano; construction of a flood control structure in Santiago City; and the construction of a slaughterhouse in Luna, among others.
Go’s staff also provided the same assistance to 250 and 178 vulnerable residents and their families in Quezon and Cauayan, respectively, last April 23. All activities were conducted in strict compliance with the government-issued health and safety procotols against COVID-19.