Relief efforts continue for typhoon victims in Catarman, Northern Samar

After Typhoon Bising ripped through parts of Northern Samar the previous week, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go’s outreach team was on the scene on Wednesday, April 28, working with local and national partners to assist residents displaced by the torrential rains and storm surges.

“Mga kababayan, patuloy pong umiikot ang aking opisina para sa mga tinamaan ng baha dahil para sa amin walang tulog dapat ang serbisyo, kahit bente kwatro oras kaming magtrabaho. Wala kaming piling araw para puntahan kayo para magbigay ng tulong o solusyon sa inyong mga problema at mag-iwan ng kaunting ngiti sa panahon ng inyong pagdadalamhati,” Go began in a video message.

His team handed out meals, food packs, vitamins, masks and face shields to a total of 332 residents at the Catarman municipal gym. To ensure everyone’s well-being, beneficiaries were divided into smaller batches while adhering to the required health and safety protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Selected residents were also given new shoes while others received bicycles so they can access locations with ease. Others were provided computer tablets to help their children continue their educational activities under the blended learning set-up.

As part of the national government’s response to the calamity, personnel from the DSWD also provided each beneficiary with separate financial assistance and food packs.

The Senator, in his message, further offered to assist any resident with health concerns. He strongly advised those who cannot afford medical care to apply for government assistance at the Malasakit Center located at the Northern Samar Provincial Hospital in the said town.

The center is a one-stop shop initiated and authored into law by Go where poor patients may conveniently seek medical assistance from the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

Go also reiterated his call for a unified department that can address the country’s disaster management issues. In 2019, he filed Senate Bill No. 205, otherwise known as ‘the Department of Disaster Resilience Act’, which seeks to create an empowered, responsive and highly specialized agency with a clear unity of command that will be responsible for ensuring adaptive, disaster-resilient and safe communities.

The department shall concentrate on three key result areas, namely: disaster risk reduction, disaster preparedness and response, and recovery and building forward better.

“Madalas pong tamaan ng bagyo, lindol at iba pang kalamidad ang ating bansa. Kailangan na nating i-scale up ang preparedness to resiliency against disasters. Napapanahon na na magkaroon tayo ng ating sariling departamento na may Secretary-level na timon o overall in-charge tuwing may krisis o sakuna,” said Go.

“Kung maitatag ang Department of Disaster Resilience, tunay na magiging laging handa tayo sa anumang krisis o sakuna — mas magiging mabilis ang pagtugon ng pamahalaan, mas maiibsan ang masamang epekto ng kalamidad at mas mabilis makakabangon ang ating mga kababayan,” he continued.

Concluding his message, the Senator expressed gratitude for the efforts of the public officials to address the immediate needs of the affected communities. Among those present during the activity were Governor Edwin Ongchuan, Vice Governor Gary Lavin, 1st District Representative Paul Daza, Mayor Francisco C. Rosales, and Vice Mayor Clarissa Bonsol.

He also thanked Councilors Francisco. E. Rosales, Fernando Carpio, Maricor Mendador, Joselito Custorio, Nicanor Cardenas, Ernesto Patilan, Jennifer Salutan, and Nerissa Daclag.

To improve the access and mobility of local residents, Go announced a new project to construct a slope protection structure along the Catarman-Calbayog Road. He also shared the plan to reconstruct the Catarman Public Market in an effort to restore people’s livelihoods and boost the local economy.

“Sana po’y makatulong itong mga proyektong ito sa inyong lugar sa pag-unlad ng inyong bayan. Kami ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte ay patuloy na magseserbisyo sa inyo sa abot ng aming makakaya diyan sa inyo sa Northern Samar,” vowed Go.

The previous day, April 27, his team also extended aid to one thousand residents in Catubig who were likewise hit by Typhoon Bising.

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