Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said in an interview during his visit to fire victims in Lico St., Tondo, Manila on Monday, January 27, that strict precautionary measures are in place to prevent the entry of the 2019-nCoV, also known as the “Wuhan coronavirus”, to the country.
“Mino-monitor ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte ang sitwasyon sa Wuhan City, China. Ngayon naman po nakatutok ang ating mga health officials sa mga pumapasok na dayuhan, may mga strict measures silang sinusunod, may thermal scanners sa 40 seaports and airports papasok ng bansa. Huwag naman po sanang pumasok dito,” Go said.
This comes after Chinese officials, during a special government meeting, warn that the spread of the new virus is accelerating.
The senator also urged the public to strictly follow the guidelines issued by the health officials to deter the spread of the virus.
“Mag-ingat po tayo. Sundin natin ang mga sinasabi ng ating public health officials. Mag-mask po tayo at protektahan ang sarili. Panatilihing malinis ang ating kamay at mga paligid. Ingat po tayo,” he said.
Asked if there is a possibility for the government to repatriate Filipinos in China, Go said that the President and concerned agencies are still observing the situation.
“Antayin po natin ang pinag-aaralan at inoobserbahan pa po ni Pangulong Duterte ano ‘yung magiging sitwasyon. Titingnan niyang mabuti kung dapat bang ilikas rito sila, kasi nagkaroon rin ng lockdown sila doon, hindi sila pwedeng lumabas, at ipinagbabawal nga ‘yung pagdating ng mga eroplano mula sa Wuhan, China,” he said.
Go added that he and the President will prioritize the safety and security of Filipino citizens, saying “kami ni Pangulo, uunahin namin ang kapakanan ng ating mga kababayan. Ang kanilang safety ang parating umiiral sa aming mga konsiderasyon.”
Meanwhile, during his visit to fire victims in Lico St., Tondo, Manila, Go comforted the evacuees whose houses were razed by a fire incident on January 23. While no fatalities were reported, six individuals were injured by the incident.
“Kumikirot ang puso ko kapag may nasasaktan at namamatay. Marami pong tutulong sa atin para maibalik ang mga bagay na nawala sa inyo. Pero ang buhay, hindi nabibili.”
Go also distributed assistance to 120 affected families including relief and financial aid. The senator added that he will also provide school supplies and uniform sets to students who were affected by the fire so they can resume attending their classes immediately.
“Mayroon lang akong dalang konting tulong sa inyo. May financial assistance, grocery at pagkain. Iba pa rito ang maibibigay ng iba’t ibang ahensya ng gobyerno,” Go said.
Government agencies also came to help the fire victims. The National Housing Authority (NHA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) were present and provided different kinds of assistance to the fire victims.
“‘Yung mga national government agencies natin, mayroon din silang ibibigay na tulong sa inyo. ‘Yung mga biktima, makakatanggap ng assistance sa Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Nandito rin ang DTI, may dalang livelihood assistance. Ang NHA naman, magbibigay ng housing materials. Ang Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) at PCSO, magbibigay ng tulong pero magkakaroon muna sila ng validation,” he said.
As for residents who are sick and are in need of surgical treatment, Go said that he is willing to provide assistance to them, most especially those who need to undergo medical operations.
“Kung sino gusto magpagamot, kahit hindi po kayo nasunugan, ako na po sasagot. Kung kailangan niyo ng operasyon sa puso, o kidney transplant, magsabi lang po kayo, ako na mamasahe, pagamot, pa-opera hanggang makauwi kayo sa inyong bahay. Mayroon tayong Malasakit Centers para maka-avail kayo ng financial at medical assistance,” he said.
Go also explained that the Malasakit Center aims to cut the time, money and effort spent by Filipinos in moving from one office to another just to seek government financial and medical assistance.
With the medical assistance programs coming from the four participating agencies already available in the Malasakit Center, the target is to reduce the hospital bill of indigent patients to the lowest possible amount without wasting time seeking help from different government offices.
“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. So ngayon po, mayroon na tayong Malasakit Center sa loob ng ospital, naroon na yung apat na ahensya ng gobyerno nasa iisang kwarto. Sa Children’s Hospital, nariyan din po, magkakatabi ang DOH, DSWD, PhilHealth, PCSO,” Go said.
Go cited the newly enacted Malasakit Center Act that mandates the establishment of such centers in all 73 DOH-run hospitals nationwide and in the Philippine General Hospital.
Go also emphasized that the Malasakit Center caters to all Filipinos. “Anong kwalipikasyon? Basta Pilipino ka,” Go said.
Meanwhile, in an interview with the press, Go lamented the lack of permanent evacuation centers in the country, saying that the use of schools as temporary shelters for disaster-stricken Filipinos results in the interruption of classes.
“Kailangan talaga natin ng mandatory evacuation centers. Naaantala ang pag-aaral nila dahil ginagamit ang mga eskwelahan sa evacuees. ‘Di naman nating pwedeng pabayaan ang mga apektado ng sakuna. Dapat talaga magkaroon na tayo ng maayos na evacuation centers,” he said.
Go filed in December Senate Bill (SB) 1228 which mandates the establishment of safe, permanent and dedicated evacuation centers. Also known as the Mandatory Evacuation Center Bill, it will require each city, province and municipality in the country to construct safe, permanent, fully-equipped and dedicated evacuation centers.
“Priority na nating magkaroon ng evacuation center dahil dapat meron na tayong mandatory evacuation center kung saan po pwede silang makapagpahinga,” Go said. “May komportableng higaan ang mga bata, hindi magkakasakit, may comfort room sila, may sanitation na maayos,” he added.