Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher “Bong” Go said in a statement while distributing aid packets on Thursday that victims of a recent fire which razed parts of Madaluyong City may be qualified to relocate to government housing units. SAP Go said during his visit and distribution of relief assistance that available units are located in Bulacan, Cavite, and Rizal.
Go has spoken to the National Housing Authority (NHA) over the possibility of relocating victims who have lost their houses in the flames.
“Nakausap ko si NHA (National Housing Authority) General Manager Marcelino Escalada at noong nabalitaan ko na may mga nasunugan dito, (tinanong ko) may available relocation sites ba sa mga qualified na indigents, sabi niya mayroon(I’ve talked to NHA General Manager Marcelino Escalada and when I heard about what happened here, I asked if there are available relocation sites for qualified indigents, he said there are available units),” he told reporters.
Go added that the affected families and individuals will be asked to sign up and their eligibility will be validated.
The fire began on Wednesday afternoon, August 29. Several houses in the residential area of Barangay Addition Hills were affected, displacing a total of 80 families. Most of the victims are currently being housed temporarily in the Jun Torres gymnasium. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation by the Bureau of Fire Protection.
SAP Go personally visited the displaced families to deliver grocery and aid packs, as well as hygiene kits from the Department of Social Welfare and the Department of Health. The local government of the city of Mandaluyong has provided initial immediate aid to the families, through the City Social Welfare Department.
“Itong tulong mula po ito sa gobyerno, inyo po ito. Pera ng gobyerno, ahensya ng gobyerno, inyo po ito, ‘di ito sa amin(This assistance is from the government, it’s from you. This money is from the government, these are yours, not ours),” SAP Go said while visiting the fire victims.
“Mula po opisina namin konting tulong at mula rin sa PAGCOR at PCSO mayroon ring darating na tulong (From our office we are also giving help and from the PAGCOR and PCSO, an aid will follow),” he added.
With what is quickly becoming a tradition of his social work visits, SAP Go traded his shoes with one of the victim’s slippers. In addition, he also promised that students who were affected by the tragedy would be provided school supplies so as to minimize the negative effect on their education.
Go’s assistance was personally requested by some of the worst affected victims. A pregnant woman and a parent with a child stiken by stage 4 cancer reached out to Go. Through the Malasaki center and other government assistance programs, Go is arranging for their care.
The Malasakit Center is an OP-funded free medicine and health service program which caters to indigent Filipinos. SAP Go said in an interview that the OP is planning on oppening more Malasakit centers, one in Bacolod and another in Dumaguete as well as in the provinces of Bohol, Pampanga, Palawan, and Maguindanao. This expansion will help the Center better provide to more communities.
SAP Go said that the Bacolod, Dumaguete, and Palawan centers are expected by September this year. The current system of the Malasakit Center has three established locations: one in Visayas, one in Davao, and another located in the Philippine General Hospital, Manila. The strengthening of the program, according to Go, is for Filipinos who cannot afford expensive medications.
“Ito po ‘yong gusto kong palawakin at palakasin, yong Malasakit Centers, kasi alam kong napakarami ng nangangailangan ng medisina, libreng gamot, sabi nga nong isa doon ‘di na raw niya masustain ‘yong gamot, nakakalungkot pero tutulungan namin hanggang sa kaya naming itulong (This is what we want to expand and strengthen — the Malasakit Centers because we know that there are so many who need free medicine, it’s sad, but we’ll help as long as we can),” said SAP Go.