Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Tuesday, March 10, sympathized with and aided family of Cristina Auingan, a 58-year-old woman who lost her life in a fire incident that occurred at Damata Letre, Brgy. Tonsuya, Malabon City. The Senator visited the wake of Auingan before proceeding to distribute assistance to residents who also lost their homes and properties in the incident.
During his wake visit, Go commiserated with Rizza Auingan, daughter of Cristina, who is still reeling from the recent tragedy experienced by her family. He also gave relief and financial assistances to the family, on top of the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
The fire incident totally burned around 170 houses displacing 245 families. While there were no reported injuries in the incident, Cristina did not survive the tragedy.
Asked why he continues to aid individuals and families affected by disasters throughout the country, Go stressed that he only aims to bring smiles to their faces in times of despair.
“Gusto ko lamang makapag-iwan ng tuwa at ngiti sa oras ng kanilang pagdadalamhati,” Go said.
Meanwhile, Go also offered similar assistances to the other affected residents who are currently staying at the Tonsuya Covered Court.
“May dala po akong tulong sa inyong lahat. May groceries, pagkain at financial assistance sa inyo, pantawid muna ngayon. Bukod pa rito ang tulong mula sa mga ahensya ng gobyerno,” Go told the victims.
To encourage students to immediately go back to school despite the unfortunate incident, the Senator said that he will help replace their uniforms and school supplies.
“Kayong mga bata, mag-aral kayong mabuti. ‘Yun lang ang magpapasaya sa inyong mga magulang,” he advised the children in the audience.
The Senator also checked on the conditions of affected pregnant women with whom he offered to be a godfather of the children.
“Sa mga buntis na naririto ngayon, pwede po ba akong maging kumpare ninyo? Ilagay niyo po sa inyong baptismal certificate. Gusto ko pong maging ninong ng inyong mga anak. ‘Pag nakita ninyo ako at kailangan niyo ng tulong, kalabitin niyo lang ako,” he said.
As for those who want to return to their home provinces to start their lives anew, Go said that he will help provide financial assistance for their transportation expenses.
“Ang totoo lang, ang problema rito sa Maynila, ang sikip na natin. Ingat tayo. Ang daming madadamay parati kapag may sunog. Minsan sumisikip ang dibdib ko kapag may namamatay. Mag-ingat po tayo. Ang buhay, hindi ‘yan nabibili,” Go said.
The Senator further shared that he filed a bill in the Senate which seeks to modernize the country’s firefighting capabilities and promote further fire prevention and education information campaigns to prevent fires.
“Nag-file ako ng Fire Modernization Bill para i-upgrade ang kagamitan ng ating mga bombero. Ang problema, kahit i-upgrade natin ‘yan, kung dikit-dikit ang mga kabahayan, ‘yan ang magiging problema. Kailangan din po ng education campaign para matuto tayong mag-ingat lahat,” he said.
The proposed Senate Bill (SB) 204 aims to improve the current state of the Bureau of Fire Protection, giving better equipment and resources to train its personnel. The bill also targets to establish Fire Protection Services (FPS) in all local government units (LGUs) and proposes rescue hotlines in all LGUs to help the local governments respond immediately to accidents, disasters and calamities.
The measure will also strengthen fire education and prevention information campaigns all over the country by mandating BFP to conduct monthly fire prevention campaigns and information drives in all LGU, particularly in informal settlements and economically depressed areas.
Amid the current public health concern brought by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Go advised the residents to practice necessary precautions and seek the help of the nearest Malasakit Center in the city for government medical and financial assistances if needed.
“Huwag tayong mag-panic kaagad. Hugas tayo ng kamay. Kung may mga sintomas po tayo, kumunsulta ng doktor. May Malasakit Centers po na pwede niyo puntahan kung kailangan ng tulong sa pampagamot,” he said, further explaining what these centers are for.
Malasakit Centers operate as “one-stop shops” for patients to easily apply for financial assistance from various government agencies such as PhilHealth, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), Department of Health (DOH) and DSWD.
“Dati, ubos panahon niyo, ubos din pamasahe niyo sa kapipila. Alam niyo po, kawawa ‘yung Pilipino. Minsan po, sa hangarin pong humaba lang ang kanilang buhay, pipila ng madaling araw para humingi ng tulong. Sa totoo lang, pera nila iyan, kanila iyan,” he said.
With the medical and financial assistance programs coming from the four participating agencies already available in the Malasakit Center, the target is to reduce the hospital bill of indigent and poor patients to the lowest possible amount without wasting time seeking help from different government offices.
Presently, a Malasakit Center is fully functional at the Ospital ng Malabon to serve the residents in the area. There are fifteen Malasakit Centers currently operating in Metro Manila.
Meanwhile, concerned government agencies were also present to provide different kinds of assistance to the fire victims. Present were representatives from DSWD, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP). Some local officials also joined the Senator’s visit.
“Nandito rin po ang iba’t ibang mga ahensya ng gobyerno para magbigay ng karagdagang tulong sa inyo,” Go said.
Ending his message, he thanked all the residents of Malabon for their support to the Duterte Administration. Go said that he will continue to go around the country and personally listen to the concerns of the Filipinos and find solutions for their daily struggles.
“Pangako ko sa inyo, kahit saan mang sulok, pupuntahan ko kayo. Sa mga bumabatikos sa amin ng Pangulo na sinasabing tapos na ang eleksyon pero nag-iikot pa rin ako, gusto kong sabihin na ‘Hoy! Hindi lang sa eleksyon dapat umikot. Ngayon dapat umikot!’” he said.
“Hindi ko po matiis na umupo lang sa Senado at magpalamig sa aking opisina. Nandito ako para tumulong. Ang bisyo ko ay magserbisyo sa lahat ng mga Pilipino,” he ended.