Matina fire victims receive immediate aid from 1st Congressional District Office

DAVAO CITY – The office of the First Congressional District Representative Paolo “Pulong’ Duterte immediately extends much-needed assistance to fire victims at Bolton Bridge, SIR Matina, Davao City on Saturday, January 15.

The First Congressional District Office dispatched their staff to the evacuation area to supply relief aid such as food packs (rice and canned goods), toiletries, tents, and portable toilets for some 39 families affected by the incident.

While everyone is trying to recuperate from the incident, Rep. Duterte said they would also provide hot meals for the victims’ breakfast and dinner for five consecutive days starting on Sunday as they assess the situation.

“[For the relocation of the victims] mag-agad ta sa desisyon sa lokal nga kagamhanan ug asa sila patukuron ug mga bagong panimalay. Andam mutabang ang congressional district office pinaagi sa Pulong-pulong ni Pulong,” Rep. Duterte said.

Duterte said affected individuals with health concerns could also seek medical support from the office. The First Congressional District Office has provided relief assistance to anyone in need of timely aid, especially during this pandemic.

Initial investigation of the Davao firefighters revealed more or less 50 houses were either gutted down or damaged by fire on Saturday at around 9 a.m. at Bolton Bridge 1 and 2 – connecting to Quimpo Boulevard. The victims evacuated to a nearby area.

The firefighters were able to control the fire around 10:49 a.m. But authorities refrain the vehicles from passing the bridge pending the approval of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). The responders reported cracks on the bridge due to the incident.

Total lockdown rumors dismissed by Palace

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles
Acting Spokesperson
08 January 2022

On the audio clip and baseless rumors about a ‘total lockdown’

We have come across an audio clip that has been shared via personal messages and social media, in which a male speaker warns the public to stock up on essential supplies as the government is considering placing the country under a “total lockdown.”

This is a false and baseless statement.

We reiterate our appeal to the public to dismiss these unfounded and malicious rumors and to refrain from sharing these with our family and friends. As I said in our press briefing yesterday, our country is dealing with a real threat that understandably concerns our people, and spreading these unverified rumors contributes to unnecessary anxiety and needless panic. Hindi po ito nakakatulong.

Let me also reiterate that the Department of Agriculture has given assurances that our inventory for basic food commodities, particularly rice, indicates that we have more than enough supplies to last for more than the next three months, enough until the next harvest season in April. According to the Department of Agriculture, the same also holds true for lowland and highland vegetables, which is at 85 percent and 107 percent sufficiency level, respectively.

While we encourage the public to keep informed about the latest developments in our battle against COVID, we urge everyone to obtain their news and information from credible sources, dismiss disinformation, and contribute positively in our efforts to stop the spread of COVID by observing minimum public health standards and by getting vaccinated in order to protect ourselves, our families and our communities.

Bong Go shares the Christmas spirit with hospital patients, watchers in Davao City

Continuing his yearly tradition, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go visited the patients and their watchers at the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City hours before Christmas Eve to extend assistance and spread the holiday cheer amid these challenging times.

“Sa mga kababayan ko, sana masaya ang inyong Pasko. Kahit nandito kayo sa ospital, ang importante safe tayo. Huwag kayong mag-alala dahil tutulungan namin kayo ni Pangulong (Rodrigo) Duterte sa inyong pagpapaospital,” Go reassured the patients.

“Hindi man ako tumuloy sa pagtakbo, nandito pa rin ako handang magserbisyo. Hindi namin sasayangin ang pagkakataon na binigay niyo sa amin. Ibabalik namin sa inyo ang serbisyo na para sa inyong lahat,” he added.

The senator and his staff distributed snacks, food and medicine packs, and masks to a total of 107 individuals, consisting of 94 hospital watchers and 13 vendors, in compliance with the required health and safety protocols. The distribution was carried out in batches at the Balay Pahulayan, a common resting area located within the hospital.

Some also received new pairs of shoes and bicycles for their commuting needs, while others were provided computer tablets for their children’s educational use under the blended learning approach.

Moreover, personnel from the Department of Social Welfare and Development provided financial assistance under its Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation program.

Continuing his message, Go urged everyone eligible to get vaccinated and complete their shots when given the opportunity. He reiterated that fully vaccinated individuals have significantly lower risk of contracting severe cases of COVID-19. He likewise stressed that greater public cooperation in the national vaccination drive can help the country attain herd immunity and return to normalcy.

“Huwag kayong matakot dahil ang bakuna ang tanging susi upang tayo ay unti-unting makabalik sa ating normal na pamumuhay. Ang hirap ng sitwasyon noon dahil naka-quarantine tayo. Pero ngayon, kaunti na lang ang bilang ng mga kaso dahil marami na mga bakunado,” remarked Go.

“Pero ‘wag tayo maging kumpiyansa dahil delikado pa din ang panahon habang nandiyan pa ang COVID. Sumunod tayo sa mga awtoridad habang nagbabakuna tayo. Sa awa ng Diyos, baka makakabalik na din tayo sa normal natin na pamumuhay,” he added.

The senator went on to encourage the beneficiaries and their loved ones with health concerns to take advantage of the SPMC’s Malasakit Center to conveniently avail of the medical assistance programs offered by the government.

The Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop which brings together the offices of the DSWD, Department of Health, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office under one roof. The program was institutionalized under the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, which Go principally authored and sponsored in the Senate.

“Twenty-three years akong nagtrabaho kasama si Pangulong Duterte. Alam namin ang problema sa baba kung saan hirap ang mga tao makahingi ng tulong mula sa gobyerno. Kaya isinulong namin ang batas na ito para nasa loob na ng ospital ang mga ahensya na tutulong para maging zero balance ang billing ninyo,” explained Go.

“Ngayon, kung hindi kayang i-cover, magsabi lang kayo sa aming ospina. Huwag kayong mag-alala dahil kami na ang bahala sa babayaran ninyo anuman ang karamdaman ninyo,” he reassured.

President Duterte also extended his personal greetings and best wishes for a Merry Christmas to the beneficiaries and their families through a phone call.

“Dasal ko na sana malutas ang mga problema ninyo. Sabagay nandito naman ang gobyerno. Ito ang administrasyon na para talaga sa mga tao. Sobrang natutuwa ako na nabigyan ako ng oportunidad na makausap kayo. Kasali ako sa pagdadasal ninyo. Malayo man ako, ‘di pa ako makapasyal dahil mayroon akong tinatrabaho, magkikita rin tayo,” the President said.

Go then thanked Balay Pahulayan Supervisor Dawn Banzon and the rest of the hospital staff for their dedication and commitment in bettering the health and lives of their patients.

As Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, Go has also supported many initiatives to improve the delivery of public services in Davao City. These include the construction or rehabilitation of multipurpose buildings and local roads in different barangays around the city, as well as the Philippine Red Cross Regional Office at the SPMC, Paquibato District Hall and Hope Day Care Center.

He also supported the construction of water systems in Barangays Acacia, Fatima, Mabuhay and San Isidro; construction or widening of a drainage canal in Barangays Bunawan Proper and Mintal; construction or rehabilitation of the drainage systems in Barangays Centro, Mudiang and Ubalde; construction of a flood control structure in Barangay 9-A and at the Datu Loho Creek; and construction of a new infectious diseases building and purchase of ambulance units for the SPMC.

The previous day, December 23, his staff provided relief to 500 solo parents and senior citizens in Barangay Tigatto. The senator likewise personally led the distribution of aid in Barangays Vicente Hizon Sr. and Panacan on December 21 and 20, respectively. Similar efforts were simultaneously conducted by his outreach teams in Barangays Governor Vicente Duterte, Wilfredo Aquino and Tibungco.

“Ang swerte natin dahil halos hindi tinamaan ang Davao City ng Bagyong Odette. Sobrang kawawa ang mga kababayan natin na tinamaan. Maiiyak ka talaga. Masakit sa dibdib ang makita ang mga kababayan mo na walang bahay at humihingi ng tulong dahil wala silang makain. Kaya pinadali ni Presidente Duterte ang pagtulong sa kanila. Ang maitutulong naman natin sa kanila ay magdasal tayo,” said Go.

“Kami ni Presidente Duterte ay patuloy kaming magseserbisyo sa inyong lahat. Dahil para sa amin, ang serbisyo sa tao ay serbisyo sa ating Panginoon. Maraming salamat muli, merry Christmas at happy New Year,” he ended.

Israel Extends Assistance to Typhoon-Hit Areas in the Philippines

Israeli diplomats personally extended assistance to residents affected by Typhoon Odette that wreaked havoc to the Philippines. Initial donations were turn overed to Cebu and Bohol. 

Ambassador Ilan Fluss flew to Cebu to donate four solar energy systems, food packs, and hygiene kits to the typhoon-hit residents. The Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines headed by Mr. Yoray Ofek also shared sacks of rice for Talisay, Cebu. Meanwhile, Deputy Chief of Mission Nir Balzam went to Bohol to turnover one unit of NUF portable water purifier, four solar energy systems, food packs, and hygiene kits. The turnover of donations in these areas were held on December 22.

“The State of Israel and the people of Israel are saddened to see the damage caused to human life, property, and resources caused by Typhoon Odette. We would like to express our sympathies and we would want the Filipinos to know that we stand by them. We are here to assist in every way that we can,” Ambassador Fluss said. The Israeli Ambassador also extended his condolences to the bereaved families of the casualties of the typhoon.

“The solar panels will be useful for areas which don’t have power supply yet. This technology is ready to use and low-maintenance,” Ambassador Fluss mentioned.

“Aside from the issues on power supply, we noticed that typhoon hit areas also experiences shortage of portable water. This Israeli-made portable water purifier will give them access to clean drinking water,” Mr. Balzam explained. 

Cebu and Bohol are two of the areas frequently visited by Israeli tourists in the Philippines. “I hope that they will recover soon and continue to feature the beauty and rich culture of these places,” Ambassador Fluss said. “It is important for a foreign diplomat like me to personally deliver this assistance to reach out to the communities and let them know that we are always ready to offer a helping hand,” he added.

Around 2,000 families received the food packs and hygiene kits. The embassy is also donating one unit of NUF portable water purifier, four solar energy systems, food packs, and hygiene kits to Siargao. 

Amid the crisis caused by Typhoon Odette, Bong Go renews push for passage of disaster resiliency measures

Amid the massive devastation left behind by Typhoon Odette, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go renewed his call for the legislature to pass a series of bills intended to improve the country’s resilience and capabilities to mitigate, respond to, and recover from natural disasters.

Go pointed out that the Philippines, which is hit by an average of 20 typhoons per year, consistently ranks among the most climate-vulnerable countries. It recently ranked fourth in the list of countries most affected by extreme weather events from 2000 to 2019 in the Global Climate Risk Index (2021) developed by Bonn-based think tank Germanwatch.

To mitigate the loss of life and property due to natural disasters, the senator specifically pushed for the passage of a long overdue measure that would institutionalize a clear chain of command, responsive mechanisms, and holistic and proactive approach to handling crisis situations.

Introduced in 2019, Go’s Senate Bill No. 205 consolidates all disaster-related agencies into the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR). Doing so would allow for a more concerted approach toward disaster risk reduction and the quicker and more efficient delivery of services during times of crises.

“Kung gaano kabilis at kadalas ang pagdating ng krisis sa ating bansa, dapat lamang na maging mas mabilis, maayos, at maaasahan ang serbisyo ng gobyerno upang maprotektahan ang kapakanan at buhay ng bawat Pilipino,” said the lawmaker.

“Isang aspeto na dapat natin maisaayos ay ang inter-agency coordination. Ito ang dahilan kung bakit matagal ko nang inirerekomenda at paulit-ulit ko nang sinasabi na dapat magkaroon ng isang departamento para mayroong timon na tagapamahala ng preparedness, response, and resilience mechanisms pagdating sa mga sakuna,” he added.

Go further noted that all disaster-related agencies, such as the Office of Civil Defense and Philippine Institute of Volcanology, are currently dispersed across different departments. Meanwhile, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council is relegated to serving as a coordinating body between the various agencies.

If enacted, the proposed department will be primarily responsible for ensuring communities are disaster-resilient, adaptive and safe in the long run. It will focus on three key result areas, namely: disaster risk reduction, disaster preparedness and response, and recovery and building forward better.

Aside from the DDR bill, Go likewise called for the passage of SBN 1228 which provides for the establishment of a permanent evacuation center in every province, city and municipality. The bill, which he filed in the same year and has since passed first reading, proposes a minimum set of requirements for every evacuation center, such as its location, accessibility, operation and amenities.

Each center will be directed to maintain a stockpile of essential supplies, such as food, water, clothing, medicine and hygiene packages. It will also have fully-equipped facilities to further ensure the well-being of every Filipino as they weather typhoons and other calamities.

To fast-track the affected families’ recovery, Go also appealed for the enactment of SBN 2393, otherwise called the Rental Housing Subsidy Act, to provide families displaced by natural and man-made disasters the necessary housing subsidies so they can relocate during the interim process of construction and have better access to the formal housing market.

“Tutulungan ng batas na ito na mabigyan ang mga mahihirap at informal settler-families natin ng disenteng buhay. Hangad ko ang suporta ng mga mambabatas dahil ang lahat ng ‘to ay para sa kabutihan ng Pilipino,” continued the senator.

“Asahan niyo na gagawin ko ang parte ko sa Senado upang isulong ang lahat ng mga nais nating makamit sa pamamagitan ng pagpasa ng mga makabuluhan at epektibong batas gaya nito,” he vowed.

Two days after Typhoon Odette made landfall, Go joined President Rodrigo Duterte to assess the situation in affected areas, give aid and comfort to victims, and help fast-track recovery efforts. They conducted inspections and situation briefings from December 18 to 20, particularly in most-hit communities such as Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte, Dinagat Islands, Southern Leyte, Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental.