By PIA-8
Published on January 30, 2020

NAVAL, Biliran, Jan. 30 — Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go witnessed on Thursday, January 30, the turnover of calamity assistance from the Office of the President (OP) to the province of Biliran and eight of its municipalities that were hit by Typhoon Ursula last December 2019.

OP, represented by Director Jone Rechie L. Gigayon from the Office of the Deputy Executive Secretary for Finance and Administration, issued checks to the province and the municipalities of Almeria, Biliran, Cabucgayan, Caibiran, Culaba, Kawayan, Maripipi, and Naval to aid in the recovery and rehabilitation of the affected areas.

The mayors of the said municipalities received the checks on behalf of their respective local government units at the Capitol Civic Center, Barangay Calumpang at the provincial capital town of Naval.

Aside from the financial assistance from the OP, Go also distributed relief assistance to the residents. Concerned government agencies, such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the National Housing Authority (NHA) were also present during the event to provide additional assistance to the affected residents.

DSWD provided financial aid to the residents through its Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program, while the NHA offered housing assistance as part of its Emergency Housing Assistance Program (EHAP).

During his speech, Go thanked the people of Biliran for their support to him and the Duterte Administration. “Maraming salamat po sa inyong naging suporta sa akin… Ngayon po, handa akong magserbisyo sa inyo.”

He also shared with them some legislative measures which have been signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte. These include the postponement of Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, the Malasakit Center Act of 2019, and the Salary Standardization Law (SSL) 5 of 2019.

Explaining his reason for backing the postponement of the Barangay and SK elections, Go said that village officials should be given enough time to implement their programs.

Now that pay hike for government workers has also been signed by the President through the SSL 5, Go urged them to continue serving the interest of the Filipino people.

“‘Yung SSL 5, pirmado na po ni Pangulong Duterte. Basta unahin po ninyo ang interes ng mga Pilipino,” he added.

He also shared with the audience the rationale behind institutionalizing the Malasakit Center initiative.

“Mas mapapabilis na po ang pag-request ninyo ng government assistance sa tulong ng mga Malasakit Center, lalo na sa mga mahihirap nating kababayan,” he said.

Republic Act (RA) 11463, otherwise known as the “Malasakit Center Act of 2019,” provides for the establishment of Malasakit Centers in 73 hospitals that are run by the Department of Health (DOH) all over the country and in the Philippine General Hospital in Manila.

The Malasakit center consolidates the medical and financial assistance that patients may apply for from four government agencies, namely, the DOH, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

After the ceremony, Go headed to the Biliran Provincial Hospital (BPH) to check on the operations of the Malasakit Center in the hospital. The said center was the 32nd in the country, launched on March 18, 2019.

Go 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. Ibinabalik lang sa kanila sa pamamagitan ng mabilis, maayos at maaasahang serbisyong pang-medikal,” Go said.

The senator left a reminder to the residents of Biliran, saying, “Minsan lang tayo dadaan sa mundong ito. Kung ano pong kabutihan na pwede nating gawin sa ating kapwa tao, gawin na natin ngayon.” (PIA-8/PR)

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