First Congressional District Office extends help to fire victims in Barangay Tibungco, Bunawan

DAVAO CITY – The office of the First Congressional District Representative Paolo “Pulong” Duterte extended cash assistance and rice packs to the fire victims at F. Bustamante National High School in Bunawan District, this city.

Each beneficiary – composed of 149 house owners, 46 sharers, and 24 renters – received cash aid and 10 kilos sack of rice from Rep. Duterte’s office. The distribution was held at the Bustamante school, where the victims are temporarily sheltered, on May 12, Wednesday.

The fire gutted down 146 houses and killed an 84-year-old woman after being trapped inside her house at Purok 13 in Barangay Tibungco in Bunawan on May 5 at around 11 p.m. The firefighters were able to control the fire at around 2 a.m.

In an initial report obtained from the Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information (DROMIC), a total of 236 families or 1,180 individuals affected by the fire incident. There are 216 families taking temporary shelter in evacuation centers.

The DROMIC revealed that a total of ₱1,971,183 worth of assistance was already provided to the affected families, of which ₱1,499,183 from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and ₱472,000 from their other private partners.

Barangay Tibungco chieftain Merjade Calvo expressed her appreciation to the First Congressional District Office, especially to the young congressman, and to other organizations for the help they had given to the affected families.

The district office has been giving food packs not only to its constituents, but also to other areas of Davao where people are in need of immediate assistance even amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.

1st Congressional District Office distributes food packs to Muslim communities in Davao City during Ramadan

DAVAO CITY – As Muslim Community observes the Holy Month of Ramadan until its celebration of the Eidul Fitr, the First Congressional District Office, headed by presidential son Paolo “Pulong” Duterte, joined in the nationwide food distribution for our Muslim brothers.

The First Congressional District Office began the distribution of meal packs to beneficiaries in the barangays in Davao City on April 20, Tuesday afternoon. Hundreds of beneficiaries from Tausog, Iranun, Sama, Maguindanao, Kagan, and Maranao tribes received the meals.

Rep. Duterte’s office said that the distribution of meal packs was scheduled every Tuesday and Friday until the celebration of the Eidul Fitr, which was scheduled May 11 this year.

Eidul Fitr is an important celebration for Filipino Muslims, marking the end of the month-long fast during Ramadan. Originated by the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, Eidul Fitr is a celebration of thanksgiving to Allah.

There were 1,200 meal packs prepared in every scheduled date of distribution. Each tribe received 200 meal packs in their respective mosques.

The activity is in concordance to the directive of the young congressman to initiate the giving of food assistance to the Muslim community on the Ramadan period until Eidul Fitr. This is to pay respect and to support them in this holy month which started on April 13 and will last until May 12, 2021.

Rep. Duterte, in his message, said that the Ramadan is the time for deep reflection, prayer, and contemplation as people around the world face challenging and dangerous times brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, a crisis that threatened everyone’s health and livelihood.

“Countless of our Moro brothers and sisters are actively and bravely working at the front lines, helping the government in the fight against the pandemic,” Rep. Duterte said.

He added that many of the Moro leaders are also relentless in ensuring that Davao City and the rest of Mindanao remain peaceful – and this is important as everyone envisions to live in a place where everyone can achieve their respective aspirations for better lives.

“May the Holy Month of Ramadan bring us inspiration as it also bring us hope, love, and compassion for those who have less in life, the sick, and the needy. I pray that this month will also strengthen our faith, bring us good health and abundance,” Rep. Duterte said.

The Holy Month of Ramadan is a golden opportunity for millions of Muslims to get closer to Allah by showing sympathy and helping those in need. But this year, the dawn-to-dusk month comes at a time when communities across the globe are forced to stay at home.

With the ongoing pandemic, many people lose their jobs, leaving them in a dire need for help this Ramadan. To help ease this unprecedented crisis, the First Congressional District Office initiated the distribution of meals to support our Muslim brothers during Ramadan.

Bong Go urges government to provide masks to protocol violators

“As he reminds authorities to instill discipline while showing compassion in fighting COVID-19”

Following the stern order of President Rodrigo Duterte to the Philippine National Police to arrest mask protocol violators, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go has urged the government to also provide them with free masks as the country continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Bilang chair ng Senate Committee on Health, sang-ayon ako na kailangang mas higpitan ang pagpapatupad ng mga protocols para maiwasan ang lalong pagkalat ng sakit,” he said.

“Subalit, maliban sa tapang upang madisiplina ang ayaw talaga sumunod, kailangan din natin ng malasakit para sa mga kababayan nating hindi makasunod dahil sa kahirapan ng buhay at kakulangan ng tamang impormasyon,” he emphasized.

Go said that the PNP and the Department of Trade and Industry, along with his office, have already agreed to provide free masks to detainees who violated the health protocol.

“Kanina po kinausap ko po si General Eleazar, ‘yung incoming PNP Chief, pati si (DTI) Secretary Mon Lopez, along with my office,” Go shared in his speeches during the launches of two newly opened Malasakit Centers in Mt. Province and Apayao on May 7.

“Napagkasunduan po namin na kapag nahuli po ng pulis at bago ilagay sa selda at tuturuan, ile-lecture, ay bigyan po ng face mask dahil baka ang mga ito ay wala talagang pambili ng face mask, kawawa naman. Baka doon pa sila magkahawaan sa selda,” he said.

Go reminded authorities of the need to instill discipline while showing compassion to poor and vulnerable sectors in order for them to comply with the necessary guidelines to keep communities safe from the threats of COVID-19.

“Maliban sa pagbigay ng libreng mask, turuan rin dapat ang taumbayan kung bakit importante ang mga patakarang ito. Sa panahong ito na kung saan andyan pa ang banta ng kalabang hindi naman nakikita, kailangan natin ang disiplina at pakikiisa ng bawat Pilipino,” he said.

“Handa ang gobyernong magmalasakit at gawin ang lahat para mailigtas ang buhay ng ating mga kababayan lalo na yung mga hirap na hirap na,” he reiterated.

Go explained that individuals who are not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 may still be a carrier of the virus and spread it to others. This makes mask wearing crucial in preventing transmission.

“Nabanggit po ng ating mahal na Pangulo na ipapahuli niya ang mga hindi nagma-mask. Bagama’t ayaw naman ni Pangulo na ikulong kayo at gusto niya pong disiplinahin at turuan po ng leksyon ‘yung mga talagang pasaway… Kasi hindi natin alam na marami pong asymptomatic, iyon po ang nagdadala ng sakit kapag hindi nagma-mask po,” he said.

Go said that he asked President Duterte to also provide free masks to apprehended individuals so that they will not spread the infection should they be detained.

“Kapag hinuli naman sila, naaawa rin naman po kami ni Pangulo,” said Go.

“Kaya kinausap ko po si Pangulong Duterte kagabi, at sabi ko, ‘Mr. President, since namimigay naman tayo ng masks, kapag nahuli mga pasaway, pwede bang pagdating sa presinto, bigyan na lang natin sila ng face mask bago sila umuwi, o bago sila ilagay sa selda baka doon pa magkahawaan’,” the Senator recounted.

Go also emphasized the observation of medical experts that the proper wearing of standard masks reduces the risk of contracting and spreading the virus by 85%. Meanwhile, proper wearing of masks, coupled with face shields and social distancing, further reduces the risk to more than 90%.

“Ako naman po, alam n’yo gagawin po ng kapulisan natin, gusto po nilang mailigtas kayo dahil delikado po na wala kayong mask at napatunayan naman po na 90% ‘pag naka-mask tayo at naka-face shield, maiwasan ang pagkahawa sa COVID-19,” explained the Senator.

“Kaya po disiplina ang kailangan dito, mga kababayan ko. Sumunod kayo sa paalala ng gobyerno habang nagbabakuna tayo,” he reminded.

While he and Duterte empathize with Filipinos, especially those who cannot afford to buy masks, Go said that the policy is aimed at stubborn individuals who refuse to comply with the health guidelines.

“Nakakaawa rin naman po ang Pilipino, lalong-lalo na po ang walang mga face mask. Pero marami dyan mga pasaway rin talaga, dahil hindi nila alam na delikado po talaga itong COVID-19 na sakit,” he said.

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Bong Go calls for review of travel protocols and guidelines to prevent entry of new and emerging COVID-19,

Welcomes approval of travel restrictions for travelers from India

Senator and Chair of the Senate Committee on Health Christopher “Bong” Go urged the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases to continuously review and adjust the travel protocols in place to prevent the entry of new and potentially more infectious COVID-19 variants from other countries into the Philippines.

Following a devastating second wave of COVID-19 infections in India, Go lauded the decision of the government to immediately impose restrictions on travelers coming from the said country. He also issued an urgent appeal to concerned authorities to study the imposition of similar restrictions on inbound travel from other countries, such as Brazil, which have a high number of confirmed and active cases.

“Habang sinusubukan nating masolusyunan ang pagtaas ng mga kaso sa Pilipinas, bantayan din natin ang mga pangyayari sa iba pang parte ng mundo para hindi ito mas lalong makaapekto sa kasalukuyang sitwasyon sa loob ng bansa. Umaapela ako sa gobyerno na pag-aralan ang posibleng pagpapatupad ng travel restrictions sa mga papasok mula sa mga bansa kung saan mataas ang kaso ng COVID-19, gaya ng Brazil, sa lalong madaling panahon,” said Go.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced all travelers coming from India or those with travel history to India within the last 14 days preceding arrival shall be prohibited from entering the Philippines beginning April 29 until May 14.

Meanwhile, passengers already in transit from the abovementioned country or have been to the same within 14 days immediately preceding their arrival to the Philippines, will be required to undergo stricter quarantine and testing protocols.

The B.1.617 variant, which has been blamed for the rise of cases in India, has two notable mutations which have enabled it to transmit at a faster rate from human to human.

In light of these developments, Go implored the Department of Health to take all necessary steps and strengthen all COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and case isolation and treatment efforts in order to prepare the country for any potential increase in infections.

“Kailangang palaging i-review ang existing border controls at paigtingin lalo ang mga travel restrictions, guidelines, timelines at exemptions na ipinapatupad natin. Maliban dito, paigtingin pa dapat ang mga hakbang ng gobyerno kontra COVID-19, katulad ng mas mabilis na vaccination roll-out, targeted testing, contact tracing, at iba pa,” he appealed.

The Senator further warned the public against complacency. He encouraged them to diligently follow the necessary health and safety protocols issued by the government to keep them safe, such as social distancing, wearing masks and face shields in public, and frequent hand washing.

“Bagamat patuloy ang pagbabakuna, huwag po tayong magkumpyansa. Gawin na natin ang kinakailangan sa lalong madaling panahon para mas maproteksyunan ang ating mga kababayan mula sa sakit na ito. Sa ating mga kababayan, huwag nating sayangin ang lahat ng mga sakripisyo natin simula noong nakaraang taon. Patuloy tayong maging disiplinado sa pagsunod sa mga patakaran,” encouraged Go.

“Magtulungan at makiisa tayo sa bayanihan dahil delikado pa ngayon habang andyan pa ang mga banta ng kalabang hindi naman nakikita. Magmalasakit din tayo sa ating frontliners na patuloy na nagseserbisyo para mailigtas ang buhay ng kapwa nating Pilipino.

Bong Go lauds participation of all sectors in the bayanihan efforts to overcome COVID-19

Reiterates that a whole-of-nation approach is necessary

While the government remains on top of the situation in addressing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go reiterated his call for a whole-of-nation approach to overcome the challenges posed by the new surges of infections worldwide.

“Bawat isa sa atin ay may ginagampanang papel sa laban kontra COVID-19. Bagama’t ginagawa ng gobyerno ang lahat upang mapagaan ang hirap na pinapasan ng ating mga kababayan, talaga namang napakabigat ng pasakit na dulot ng COVID-19 at kailangan ang pagkakaisa ng lahat upang malampasan ito,” Go said.

The Senator lauded the active participation of various sectors in the bayanihan efforts to unburden the poor and vulnerable. He assured that all kinds of initiatives to help fellow Filipinos must be welcomed and commended.

“Kaya ang mga inisyatibo, tulad ng community pantry, ay patunay na katuwang sa labang ito ang partisipasyon at kooperasyon ng lahat ng sektor ng lipunan. Tama lang na magbigay ng tulong ayon sa kaya yung mga may sobra. Kaysa masayang o mag-expire, mabuti nang mapakinabangan ng mga mas nangangailangan,” he said.

“Tandaan natin na hindi ito laban ng gobyerno lamang. Laban ito ng buong sambayanang Pilipino at ng buong mundo. Nakakatuwang makita na nananatiling buhay ang diwa ng bayanihan sa kabila ng sunud-sunod na mga pagsubok na dumadating sa bansa,” he added.

Go further encouraged Filipinos to always prioritize the welfare of the general population and do their part in helping those in need.He added that efforts of various groups to help must be recognized instead of criticized.

“Tulad ng palagi kong sinasabi, kung anumang kabutihan ang pwede nating gawin para sa kapwa ay gawin na natin ngayon. Hindi po ito panahon para magsisihan, magsiraan, o maglamangan pa. Panahon po ito ng pagtutulungan, pagmamalasakit, at pakikiisa sa bayanihan,” he emphasized.

“Walang kulay, walang pinipili, at walang pulitika dapat ang pagtulong. Welcome po lahat ‘yan. Huwag nating gamiting panlaban sa gobyerno ang inisyatibo ng iilan na tumulong sa kapwa nilang Pilipino. Iisa lang naman ang hangarin nating lahat bilang isang komunidad at iyan ay ang kabutihan ng buong bansa,” he added.

Meanwhile, Go also urged the private sector to further refine its safety measures to minimize the risks of transmitting the COVID-19 virus, especially in workplaces, while ensuring that essential business operations remain unhampered.

“We seek everyone’s solidarity in strictly observing the health protocols to ensure that we keep new infections at bay and not further overwhelm our healthcare system,” said Go.

He also asked the government to ramp up the production and distribution of masks, especially to those who cannot afford to buy their own.

“The government must step in to provide these necessities and ensure compliance of the public with minimum health standards,” he emphasized.

The Senator also continued to urge the government to always be inclusive by having an open dialogue with health experts and advocates to come up with viable solutions to various issues.

In particular, he reiterated his appeal for the government to facilitate a thorough scientific study of potential COVID-19 medications and treatments, such as Ivermectin.

“Let me clarify that I am not advocating for the use of any specific drug. We have regulatory processes in place that must be followed to protect the welfare of the public. However, we must keep an open mind so that Filipinos can be given access to any drug that may help prevent or cure COVID-19 as long as it has undergone the right process and is scientifically proven safe and effective,” he explained.

As groups and sectors wait for their turn to get inoculated, Go continues to remind Filipinos to be on the lookout and remain vigilant against the threats of COVID-19.

He also hit back on individuals who sow hate and spread disinformation about the pandemic, saying, “your efforts will not derail our focus in serving our fellow Filipinos with utmost diligence, compassion and empathy.”

Amid the nation’s ongoing battle against the pandemic, Go said that the challenges it brings should unite Filipinos rather than divide them.

“Let us show the world that no crisis can break the spirit of the Filipino people,” he ended.