TRUE to his promise to reach out to Filipinos anywhere in the country, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go travelled to one of the southernmost and isolated parts of the country, Sulu province to deliver assistance to fire victims there.
Over 2,227 families comprising of 11,225 individuals lost their homes due to electric overload that razed their houses and properties last February 3. Because of the incident, the families have been temporarily evacuated to the nearby sports complex and tennis court in Jolo.
“Sa mga kababayan kong nasunugan, ‘wag po kayong mag-alala, nandito po ang gobyerno, andyan si Allah, Panginoon handang tumulong,” Go said.
“Importante po walang nasaktan. Trabaho po namin na magserbisyo sa bawat Pilipino, at gaya ng ipinangako ko noon, kahit saang sulok kayo ng Pilipinas ay pupuntahan ko po kayo hanggang kaya ng aking oras at katawan,” the senator added.
Go, whose advocacies include ensuring immediate government response to calamities and natural disasters, brought relief and financial assistance to each family.
The senator also offered to provide new sets of school uniforms and shoes to each student affected by the incident. According to Go, the schooling of the students should not be interrupted due to incidents like this. He also strongly encouraged the students to go back immediately to their respective schools so they would not miss any of their classes.
In his message to the fire victims, Go emphasized that it is not only his duty to be a legislator. As a public servant, he said that it is also his duty to visit Filipinos, most especially those who live far from Metro Manila, in their times of need in order to listen to their concerns and provide solutions to their daily struggles.
“Trabaho namin sa Senado ang legislation, constituency at representation. Hindi naman lahat ng mga Pilipino ang makakapunta ng opisina namin para humingi ng tulong. Kaya kami na ang bababa sa inyo at pakinggan ang inyong mga hinaing at makapagbigay ng solusyon sa inyong mga problema,” he said.
Meanwhile, concerned government agencies also went to Sulu to assist the victims. Representatives of the National Housing Authority (NHA), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) were present to provide additional assistance to the residents.
“Kasama ko rin po ngayon ang mga representatives ng iba’t ibang ahensya ng gobyerno. Narito po ang NHA para magbigay ng housing materials sa inyo, DSWD at PCSO para sa mga pinansyal na tulong. May iba pa pong ahensya ng gobyerno na laging handang magserbisyo, lalo na sa oras ng sakuna,” he said.
NHA provided cash assistance initially to 100 families whose houses were fully damaged. The rest will be distributed next week. DSWD’s Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS) program was also provided as financial assistance to each family while PCSO distributed grocery packs.
For individuals interested in skills training, TESDA offered a carpentry training program for them.
Meanwhile, Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan told members of the media during an ambush interview that he appreciates the efforts of the senator to bring service to Filipinos, especially in this time of need.
“Talagang sarili talaga ni Senator Bong Go na pumunta dito para ipaabot ang serbisyo ng pamahalaan,” Tan told reporters.
He further added, “Dati, wala namang tulong na dumarating dito sa ating lalawigan. Sabi nga noon, neglected ang ating probinsya, ngayon, nakita niyo naman walang sunog dito sa Pilipinas na hindi pinupuntahan ni Senator Bong Go, kaya dito nararamdaman ng ating taumbayan ang serbisyo ng pamahalaan at ni Senator Go.”
Go also thanked Tan and the rest of the people of Sulu for the support they have given to the senator and to the Duterte Administration.
“Salamat din po kay Governor... sa lahat ng taga-Jolo, Sulu sa suporta ninyo sa akin noon, at ngayon andito ako, handa akong magserbisyo sa inyo,” Go said.
The Philippine Army, Coast Guard and Philippine National Police were also hands on in assisting the senator and the government agencies while providing aid to the fire victims. Private groups, such as the Fraternal Order of the Eagles, were also present to support.