The Office of Senator Christopher “Bong” Go provided assistance on Thursday, March 4, to a total of ten families who lost their houses due to separate fire incidents in Lupon and Caraga towns in Davao Oriental.
The beneficiaries were given meals, food packs, and financial assistance during an activity held at Barangay Don Mariano Hall in Lupon. The fire victims were also provided with vitamins, masks, and face shields so they can protect themselves from COVID-19.
Seven families from Lupon were affected by a fire incident that happened on February 26 while the other three families came from a previous fire incident in Caraga town that happened in February 7.
A selected beneficiary was given a new pair of shoes, while another recipient facing difficulties commuting to work received a bicycle. A beneficiary was also provided with a computer tablet so that his child can better study at home under the blended learning set-up implemented by schools.
Antonio Regomeo, Jr., one of the beneficiaries, tearfully described the fire incident where he lost his child.
“Hindi ko na malapitan at mailigtas ang aking anak dahil sa sunog sa loob ng bahay. Gusto ko man iligtas pero naroon din nanay ko na nasusunog din ang katawan. Dinala ko na rin agad sa Mati para ipa-ospital,” Regomeo recalled. The mother later passed away.
“Ngayon, nakakuha kami ng tulong mula kay Senador Bong Go kaya maraming salamat kasi malaking tulong ito sa amin. May makain kami at maibabalik ng paunti-unti ang aming kabuhayan,” he added.
Meanwhile, Go assisted Regomeo over the loss of his child and the medical bills of his mother who suffered severe burns and eventually died too. Through the Malasakit Center which Go pushed in 2019 and was signed into law by President Duterte in the same year, Regomeo had zero billing in Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City.
The Senator also personally attended the launch of the Malasakit Center at the Davao Oriental Provincial Medical Center in Mati City in October last year.
“Kay Antonio, nakikiramay ako. Alam kong masakit dahil nawala ang iyong mga mahal sa buhay pero handa akong tumulong sa iyo,” Go said.
As part of the government’s response efforts, various national agencies also took part in the activities to deliver aid for the beneficiaries so they can rebuild their lives.
Representatives from the Department of Social Welfare and Development distributed additional financial assistance to the fire victims. The Department of Trade and Industry assessed recipients for their livelihood program.
Additionally, the National Housing Authority validated beneficiaries for housing assistance or relocation. The Department of Agriculture also distributed packs of vegetable seedlings, while the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office distributed grocery packs.
The Department of Labor and Employment, meanwhile, offered livelihood to displaced or disadvantaged workers, while the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority provided skills training.
Go also went on to recognize the local and national public officials for their service to their communities. Among those present during the activity were former Mayor Domingo A. Lim who is also the husband of incumbent Mayor Erlinda Lim, Vice Mayor Sonny Alonzo and the rest of the official roster.
The Senator also reminded the public to take precautionary measures and continue to be vigilant to prevent fire incidents as the month of March is Fire Prevention Month. He said that as a legislator, he continues to be committed to respond to the needs of ordinary Filipinos, especially those in distress and victims of various crises through an improved Bureau of Fire Protection.
“Ngayon po ay Fire Prevention Month, maging mas maingat tayo para maiwasan ang sunog at hindi na magkaroon pa ng ganitong mga trahedya. Sisikapin kong maipasa ang mga panukalang ito para wala nang gamit at lalong wala nang buhay ang mawawala dahil sa sunog,” the Senator said.
One of Go’s priority bills, which was one of the bases of the committee report for Senate Bill No. 1832, mandates the BFP to develop and implement a fire protection modernization program. These will include the acquisition of modern fire equipment, an expansion of the BFP’s manpower, and the provision of specialized training for firefighters, among others.
It will also be mandated that the BFP shall conduct monthly fire prevention campaigns and information drives in every local government unit, especially in informal settlements, economically depressed areas, and far-flung communities.