In the aftermath of the devastating Typhoon Egay that wreaked havoc in different parts of Luzon, including Cagayan province, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go reaffirmed his commitment to bolstering disaster resilience measures and responding to the needs of affected communities.
Go recently stood amidst the flood-affected communities in Santa Ana, Cagayan, providing aid to the typhoon victims while underscoring the urgency of enacting the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR) Bill and the Mandatory Evacuation Center Bill.
The legislator provided grocery packs, vitamins, masks, and snacks to 1,000 flood victims. There were also select recipients of bicycles, cellular phones, shoes, watches, and balls for basketball and volleyball.
He was joined by Governor Manual Mamba, Santa Ana Vice Mayor Catherin Ladrido, Sta. Teresita Mayor Rodrigo de Gracia, Gonzaga Mayor Marylin Pentecostes, and Allacapan Mayor Harry Florida.
“Mula nang ako ay naging governor, tumutulong siya. Ngayon na tayo ay tinamaan ng bagyong Egay, andito na naman ang ating kaibigan, ang nagmamalasakit, Senator Bong Go. Maraming maraming salamat, sir, sa inyong pagmamahal sa amin. Maraming salamat sa inyong tulong na binibigay sa amin,” Mamba said.
“Huwag natin kalimutan na siya ang taong maaasahan natin anumang oras.”
“Katulad ni Senator Bong Go, mula noon hanggang ngayon, hindi nagpapabaya sa atin. Huwag natin kalimutan na siya ang taong maaasahan natin anumang oras,” the governor added.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development also extended financial assistance to the affected families while the Department of Agriculture extended various assistance to help with their livelihood recovery.
Later that day, Go also led another relief operation to a thousand more flood victims in Sanchez Mira.
In his visit, Go recognized the province’s resilience and expressed his commitment to strengthen disaster preparedness and response mechanisms in the country.
The senator has been advocating for Senate Bill No. 188 or the DDR Bill, which he filed that seeks to establish a specialized agency solely focused on disaster risk reduction and management. By creating a dedicated institution, the bill aims to streamline disaster management procedures and enhance the nation’s ability to respond effectively to future crises.
“Noong 18th Congress pa po (at) ngayon rin po sa 19th Congress mayroon po akong nai-file sa Senado, ito pong Department of Disaster Resilience. Isa pong departamento na kung saka-sakali ay to be headed by a Cabinet secretary rank para maayos na koordinasyon. ‘Yung secretary level kasi may authority kaya madali niyang ipatawag po ‘yung kanyang kasamahang secretary level,” Go explained in an interview after the event.
“Napapanahon na po na magkaroon na tayo ng isang departamento na tutugon po bago dumating ‘yung bagyo, preposition of goods, ilikas ‘yung mga kababayan natin sa ligtas na lugar… Kung mayroong cabinet secretary level, iyon po ang ipapadala ng presidente. Bago pa dumating ang bagyo maayos na kaagad ‘yung coordination at pag-alis ng bagyo, tutok na sa restoration of normalcy, rehabilitation efforts,” he continued.
Go then emphasized that creating a dedicated department for disaster resilience will not only improve coordination but will also provide an institutionalized mechanism in responding to such crises with clearer mandate, authority, expertise, and resources.
“Hindi puro task force. Kasi pag task force, bagong administrasyon bagong task force na naman… temporary lang ito at nawawala ang continuity kapag nagpalit na ng administrasyon. Mahirap din kung mananatiling coordinating council lang ang mamamahala sa ganitong sitwasyon dahil sa kakulangan ng kapangyarihan nito,” he explained further.
“Pero kapag may departamentong nakatutok, nandiyan sa kanila ‘yung history, database ng dokumento, pangangailangan, at koordinasyon sa ibang departamento… Halimbawa naputol ‘yung kuryente, tatawagan kaagad niya ang Department of Energy. Naputol ‘yung komunikasyon, DICT. DPWH para i-clearing kaagad ‘yung mga kalye. Bukod sa maayos na coordination, importante po magkaroon sana tayo ng isang departamento – Department of Disaster Resilience,” Go cited.
The Office of Civil Defense has recently voiced its support for the establishment of the DDR, emphasizing the importance of such institutions in improving operations in managing and responding to future crises.
Meanwhile, Go also emphasized the importance of SBN 193 or the Mandatory Evacuation Center Bill, which imposes the establishment of evacuation centers in vulnerable areas prone to natural disasters.
“By making evacuation centers mandatory, the bill seeks to prevent loss of life and minimize the adverse effects of calamities on affected populations,” Go noted.
“Maayos na evacuation center, Mandatory Evacuation Center sa bawat syudad, munisipyo, at probinsya, ‘yun po ang aking isinusulong sa Senado.”
“Mayroon rin po akong nai-file sa Senado, Mandatory Evacuation Center sa mga probinsya, siyudad, at munisipyo. Dapat po mayroon tayong maayos na evacuation center. Ngayon by region po yata eh. Kulang talaga. Tuwing may bagyo, sunog, putok ng bulkan nagagamit po ‘yung eskwelahan as evacuation center, naantala pa ang eskwelahan. So dapat mayroon tayong maayos, malinis, komportable ang mga bata at hindi magkasakit. Maayos na evacuation center, Mandatory Evacuation Center sa bawat syudad, munisipyo, at probinsya, ‘yun po ang aking isinusulong sa Senado,” he stressed.
Cagayan has announced a state of calamity because of the destruction caused by Typhoon Egay, as recommended by its Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council.
To support the medical needs of indigent patients especially those affected by the typhoon, Go said there is a Malasakit Center located at Cagayan Valley Medical Center in Tuguegarao City ready to assist them in their expenses.
Principally authored and sponsored by Go, the Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop where concerned agencies are housed together to ensure medical assistance programs are easily accessible. To date, there are 158 Malasakit Centers nationwide which have benefited more than seven million Filipinos nationwide.
There will also be eight Super Health Centers (SHCs) in the province, he also shared.
SHCs offer health services including database management, out-patient, birthing, isolation, diagnostic (laboratory: x-ray, ultrasound), pharmacy, and ambulatory surgical unit. Other available services are eye, ear, nose, and throat (EENT) service; oncology centers; physical therapy and rehabilitation center; and telemedicine, where remote diagnosis and treatment of patients will be done.
As vice chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, Go also supported the road opening and regravelling of the Barangays Patunungan-Pananacpan Road.