As they both expressed their commitment to help communities recover and build back better
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go joined President Rodrigo Duterte and other government officials in Palawan and Cebu on Thursday, December 23 to express solidarity and bring aid to communities hit by Typhoon Odette.
They assured typhoon victims that the government is determined to maximize all its assets to expedite relief, recovery and rehabilitation efforts.
“Sa gitna ng mga kalamidad na ating nararanasan, nanawagan ako sa mga kapwa ko Pilipino na magkaisa para tulungan ang mga nasalanta ng Bagyong Odette,” Go appealed.
“Mahirap maramdaman ang saya ng Kapaskuhan kung alam nating may mga kababayan tayong naghihirap. Kaya wala kaming pahinga ni Pangulong Duterte at ng buong administrasyong ito sa pagsigurong makakarating ang tulong sa mga nangangailangan,” he added.
Together with Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, and other key officials, the President and Go met with leaders of Palawan for a situation briefing. Among those present were Governor Jose Alvarez, Puerto Princesa City Mayor Lucilo Bayron, Taytay Mayor Christian Rodriguez, Roxas Mayor Dennis Sabando and Department of Social Welfare and Development Regional Director Fernando De Villa Jr.
The President also led the ceremonial turnover of relief goods and essential supplies at the old Puerto Princesa City Airport.
Soon after, they flew to Cebu City where President Duterte met local officials and led the distribution of food packs and the ceremonial turnover of financial assistance to typhoon victims at the Labangon Elementary School gymnasium.
“Para siguraduhin ang maayos na koordinasyon ng relief at rebuilding efforts, personal po nating tinututukan nitong mga nakaraang araw ang mga pinsalang naidulot ng Bagyong Odette. Sa mga pagbisitang ito, nakipagpulong din si Pangulong Duterte sa mga lokal na opisyal upang direktang marinig mula sa kanila ang kanilang mga pangangailangan at agarang matugunan ang mga ito,” Go narrated.
“Kasalukuyang ginagawa ng gobyerno ang lahat upang maibalik sa lalong madaling panahon ang supply ng kuryente, komunikasyon at tubig at maipagkaloob ang mga ayuda sa mga apektadong residente. Ngunit kailangan ang whole-of-nation approach para masiguro ang mabilis at tuluy-tuloy na pagbangon ng ating mga kababayan,” he explained further.
President Duterte and Senator Go assured the local communities that the whole government is mobilizing all its assets to help them recover and build back better. The President has also directed the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, the Philippine Coast Guard and other concerned uniformed personnel and frontliners to provide needed support to the affected communities.
“Ibinilin ng Pangulo na gamitin lahat ng assets ng gobyerno upang maibangon muli ang mga komunidad na apektado. Inaasahan niya na lahat ng ahensya ng gobyerno ay nakatutok sa recovery and rehabilitation efforts at walang oras o pondo na masasayang,” Go said.
To fast track all rescue, recovery, relief and rehabilitation efforts, the President issued on Tuesday, December 21, Proclamation No. 1267 which placed MIMAROPA, Regions VI (Western Visayas), VII (Central Visayas), VIII (Eastern Visayas), X, (Northern Mindanao) and XIII (Caraga) under a state of calamity. The declaration will remain in effect for a year until it is modified or rescinded.
In addition to hastening the delivery of government and humanitarian assistance, the proclamation also directs all concerned agencies to coordinate with, provide or augment the basic services and facilities of the affected areas. It likewise orders the law enforcement agencies, along with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to undertake the necessary measures to ensure peace and order.
“Ipinaalala rin ng Pangulo na dapat mai-release na agad ang karagdagang pondo para sa mga LGUs upang makaresponde sila sa mga pangangailangan ng kanilang nasasakupan,” Go emphasized.
Two days after Typhoon Odette made landfall, Go and the President conducted aerial inspections of typhoon-ravaged areas in Visayas and Mindanao since Saturday and delivered aid to the affected families there. The two were on hand to personally give comfort and support residents of affected communities in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte, Dinagat Islands, Southern Leyte, Cebu, Bohol and Negros Island from December 18 to 20.
On December 22, they returned to Siargao Island and the Dinagat Islands just as promised to personally oversee relief and rehabilitation efforts.
“Mas nanaisin ko pang mag-Pasko kapiling ang mga biktima ng bagyo dahil ito naman ang tunay na diwa ng okasyong ito — ang pagtulong, pagdadalamhati at pakikipagkapwa-tao,” Go stressed.