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Improving disaster resilience and helping build back better, Bong Go sends aid to recovering typhoon victims in Abuyog, Leyte

PASAY CITY -- Senator Christopher “Bong” Go raised anew the need for the enactment of Senate Bill No. 205, also known as the Disaster Resilience Act of 2019, which he filed to seek the creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR) as he assisted Typhoon Agaton victims in Abuyog, Leyte on Tuesday, April 26.

In his message to the victims, Go said that the establishment of the DDR will ensure a proactive approach to natural disasters. Because the country’s geographical location exposes it to extreme weather disturbances, the senator stressed that the government must pay utmost attention to its immediate response.

“Nag-file po ako sa Senado ng Department of Disaster Resilience (bill), departamentong Cabinet-secretary level, para bago pa dumating ang bagyo, mayroon ng coordination with local government units at makapaghanda ng pagkain. Kapag mayroong bagyo, makakapag-evacuate kaagad. Bago pa dumating ang bagyo, dapat madala kaagad sila sa mga evacuation centers para walang masaktan,” said Go.

“At kapag lumabas na ang bagyo, rehabilitation at recovery efforts naman. Returning back to normalcy kaagad ang layunin natin. More responsive services from relief to rebuilding operations ang ating layunin, less damages and casualties and faster recovery, kaya ko i-finile itong Department of Disaster Resilience,” he added.

Go also strongly appealed for the passage of SB 1228 or the Mandatory Evacuation Center Act which will mandate the creation of permanent, safe and properly equipped evacuation centers in every municipality, city and province across the Philippines.

“Kapag dumating ang malakas na bagyo o kung anumang sakuna, sa mahihirap po talaga malakas ang epekto nito. Kada taon, iba’t ibang krisis ang hinaharap ng Pilipinas kaya naman dapat mabilis ang aksyon ng gobyerno upang mapaghandaan at maprotektahan ang buhay at kapakanan ng mga Pilipino,” Go earlier said.

“Kaya napaka importante po na tayo ay makapagpatayo ng mga safe, permanent and dedicated evacuation centers na may sapat na emergency packs, tulad ng maayos na tulugan, tubig, gamot at iba pang relief goods. Nakahanda na dapat ito kahit wala pang sakuna,” he underscored.

During the activity, Go’s team provided meals and masks to 2,056 beneficiaries from Barangays Bagacay and Old Taligue. The distributions were held at the respective barangay gymnasiums in compliance with mandated health protocols.

The team also gave select individuals new pairs of shoes and bicycles for commuting and provided others with computer tablets for their children’s studies.

In addition, personnel from the Department of Social Welfare and Development distributed financial aid as part of the government’s efforts to assist individuals in crisis situations. The Department of Trade and Industry and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority also conducted assessments for their respective assistance programs.

The senator, an advocate for better access to quality healthcare, urged residents not to ignore their medical needs in the midst of the pandemic. He offered to assist the sick and urged them to also avail of assistance from any of the province's five Malasakit Centers.

The center is a one-stop shop which aims to reduce a hospital bill to the lowest amount possible. It brings together under one roof the various government agencies which offer medical assistance, namely, the DSWD, Department of Health, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

A Malasakit Center has been opened each at the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC) in Tacloban City, New Western Leyte Provincial Hospital in Baybay City, Ormoc District Hospital in Ormoc City, and Leyte Provincial Hospital and Governor Benjamin T. Romualdez General Hospital and Schistosomiasis Center (GBTRGHSC) in Palo.

“Wala po itong pinipili. Halimbawa, may dagdag na gastos ang pasyente na hindi covered ng PhilHealth, diyan papasok ang mga ibang ahensya. Mayroon rin na mula sa Office of the President bilang pandagdag na tulong sa inyo,” explained Go, who primarily authored and sponsored the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019. There are now 151 Malasakit Centers nationwide.

To improve the delivery of public healthcare services in Leyte province, the senator also earlier sponsored and successfully pushed for the passage of a bill to increase the bed capacity of the EVRMC and another to convert the Schistosomiasis Control and Research Hospital into the GBTRGHSC.

The senator concluded his message by thanking the local officials for their significant contributions in the fight against the pandemic and other crisis situations.

To help improve public service delivery and boost economic growth in Abuyog, Go, as Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, has likewise supported the construction of a multipurpose building and a farm-to-market road, rehabilitation of an evacuation center, and acquisition of multi-cabs and an ambulance in the town.

In the province, Go supported the construction of multipurpose buildings in Alangalang, Babatngon, Carigara, Dagami, Isabel, Jaro, La Paz, Leyte and Tolosa; construction of the Merida Community Hospital; construction of flood control structures in Alangalang, Javier, Tanauan and Tolosa; and acquisition of dump trucks for the local governments of Isabel and Villaba, among others.

Go's team is set to hold a series of relief activities for residents of Abuyog until May 6.

On April 15 and 16, Go joined President Rodrigo Duterte in personally visiting and giving aid to the victims of Agaton who were temporarily staying at the Baybay City Senior High School in Leyte and Pontevedra Elementary School in Capiz. (OSBG)

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Kate Shiene Austria

Information Officer III

Information Officer III under the Creative and Production Services Division of the Philippine Information Agency. 

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