Senator Christopher “Bong” Go underscored the need for a quick, holistic and unified whole-of-government approach in responding to a crisis given the worsening disasters on top of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
“Kung gaano kabilis makasira ng pamumuhay ang mga di inaasahang pangyayaring ito, mas mabilis dapat ang aksyon ng gobyerno upang mapaghandaan at maprotektahan ang buhay at kapakanan ng mga Pilipino (The quick destruction caused by the disasters should be matched with the government’s action to be ready and protect the lives and welfare of Filipinos),” he said.
Last December 1, Go was invited to join a virtual meeting with DOLE Secretary Silvestre H. Bello 3rd – the Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security for Region 3 – and local chief executives of Region 3 constituting the Regional Development Council and Regional Peace and Order Council.
Task Force Build Back Better Chairman, DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, and Co-chairman, DPWH Secretary Mark A. Villar, together with Department of BBM Secretary Wendel E. Avisado, DOTR Secretary Arthur P. Tugade and Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea also attended the virtual meeting.
In his speech, Go emphasized the need for national agencies and local government units (LGUs) to be well-coordinated in their efforts in mitigating and managing the effects of disasters.
Go stressed that if surrounding areas will still experience flooding despite the mitigating solutions, evacuation and relocation measures must be in place.
He said he is ready to assist governors, saying he will be the bridge to President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Patuloy akong magiging tulay kay Pangulo (I will continue to be the bridge to the President),” he said.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, the Senator continues to reach out and extend much needed relief to Filipinos in crisis situations.
Immediately after Typhoon Ulysses made landfall, Go joined President Rodrigo Duterte in an aerial inspection which was followed by a visit to Barangay Iraga in Solana, Cagayan and a situational briefing in Tuguegarao city. In the weeks since that visit, his office has distributed assistance to various affected communities.
He said they were able to extend assistance to 1,354 families in Solana and Enrile in Cagayan; and 659 families naman sa Baggao at Alcala and 1,358 families sa Amulung, Tumauini and Delfin Albano. Also, 4,456 were assisted in Tuguegarao City.
Furthermore in Isabela, Go was able to assist 950 families in Cabagan and Sto. Tomas; and in Sta. Maria, San Pablo, Santiago at Ilagan, another 2,000 families,” were assisted.
Go’s team so far has been able to assist over 10,000 families in these areas but still he reiterated that more work needs to be done.
“Kilala natin si Pangulong Duterte, ayaw niya po na mayroong nakatiwangwang o may naiiwan na proyekto na hindi po natatapos (We all know that President Duterte does not want projects that are idle or not completed),” he reminded.
Last November 18, the President signed Executive Order No. 120 creating an inter-agency task force to streamline and focus on post-disaster rehabilitation and recovery efforts in typhoon-hit areas. Task Force Build Back Better will also implement long-term strategies to enhance the resilience of vulnerable communities.
Go also commended President Duterte for approving the augmentation of calamity funds in affected areas in order to boost the capacity of LGUs in carrying out disaster response, relief, rehabilitation and recovery operations.
Meanwhile, Go renewed his call for the passage of Senate Bill No. 1228, otherwise known as the Mandatory Evacuation Center Act of 2019, which he filed last December 2019. He likewise urged support for SBN 205 which seeks to consolidate the essential functions of every disaster-related agency into a Department of Disaster Resilience. SOVEREIGNPH