IN light of the emergence of the new COVID-19 variant Omicron, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go urged all Filipinos, regardless of their vaccination status, to keep their guards up and cooperate with authorities.
The new Omicron variant was first reported to the World Health Organization from South Africa on November 24. According to WHO, the variant features a considerable number of mutations, making it a variant of concern.
In a video message during the relief operation mounted by his team in Lupon, Davao Oriental, Go reminded everyone to stay vigilant in order not to waste the gains and sacrifices in the fight against the pandemic.
“Kailangan namin ni Pangulong (Rodrigo) Duterte ang kooperasyon ninyo upang malampasan natin ang krisis na ito. Huwag tayo maging kumpiyansa. Kahit na nabakunahan na kayo, mag-social distancing at magsuot pa rin kayo ng mask at face shield dahil hindi natin alam kung sino ang positibo sa COVID-19,” explained Go.
His team distributed meals and masks to a total of 659 beneficiaries, composed of solo parents, senior citizens and barangay functionaries at the municipal gymnasium. They also gave select recipients new shoes or bicycles for commuting and provided others with computer tablets for their children’s blended learning activities.
Moreover, representatives from the Department of Social Welfare and Development extended financial assistance as part of the government’s support for communities in crisis situations.
In addition, the Department of Agriculture distributed vegetable seeds while the Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Trade and Industry, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority conducted assessments for their respective assistance programs.
The senator, who heads the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, noted that the ongoing crisis has left many unemployed and reluctant to seek medical care. He encouraged them to reach out to his office or visit the Malasakit Center located at the Davao Oriental Provincial Medical Center in Mati City.
“Sa mga pasyente, lapitan niyo lang ang Malasakit Center dahil para ito sa inyo. Kung may bill kayo, nandiyan ang apat na ahensya ng gobyerno na tutulong para mabayaran ito. At kung may naiwang balanse, may iniwan rin na pondo ang Office of the Presidente para wala na kayong babayaran sa inyong pagpapaospital,” he said.
The Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop for the medical assistance programs of the government. It streamlines the process of requesting aid from the DSWD, Department of Health, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. Go principally authored and sponsored the measure that became Republic Act No. 11463, also known as the “Malasakit Centers Act of 2019”.
Go’s team conducted similar relief efforts for 353 residents in Mati City last November 8 and 9. All activities were held in strict compliance with the health and safety protocols against COVID-19.