Senator Bong Go handed over financial and relief assistance to some 166 families that were displaced by a huge fire that struck a seaside community in General Santos City recently.

Go, who was accompanied by actor Philip Salvador, visited the evacuation center at the Dadiangas South Elementary School gymnasium and personally looked into the plight of the evacuees.

“I can’t bear just staying in my office in Manila while you are here in the evacuation center and in dire need of our help,” the legislator said in a brief dialogue with the evacuees.

The lawmaker brought food packs, gifts for pregnant mothers and initial cash assistance of P2,000 each for the affected families, who are all informal settlers.

The senator promised to provide for the uniforms and school supplies of the affected school children “so they can immediately return to school.”

A five-year-old girl was also killed in the July 23 blaze that hit the crowded portion of Purok Islam in Barangay Dadiangas South, which is just across the city’s central public market.

Most of the affected residents were workers and vendors at the public market and other nearby establishments.

The site, which is beside the area that was also hit by a huge fire last December 28, is owned by the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Retirement and Separation Benefits System.

Go said he has asked other agencies to assist the needs of the victims, including livelihood and their relocation.

He said among those that responded are the National Housing Authority, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Health, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.

Go also announced the release of an additional P5 million from the national government to the Malasakit Center at thecity government-run Dr. Jorge P. Royeca Hospital for the hospitalization and other related needs of indigent patients.

He said such funding is ready for downloading “anytime within the month of August.”

“This is your money. So anyone who needs hospitalization should not hesitate to approach our Malasakit Center at the city hospital,” Go said.

“This is your money.” 

He said his office will also facilitate the treatment in Davao City of patients who would need the services of medical specialists.

“I am here because I’m your representative. I will all relay your concerns here to the national government and see how we can help you,” Go added.

“I am here because I’m your representative.” 

Kabiba Musa, one of the evacuees, said the cash assistance and other provisions brought by Go is a big help for her family.

“We did not save anything from the fire. We have nowhere to go,” the 26-year-old mother of three small children said.

Musa hopes to be included in the skills training from TESDA, which was offered to them in coordination with the barangay council as part of Go’s visit.

Meanwhile, Akmad Pendatun, another resident, said he is looking forward to the livelihood assistance that will be facilitated by the DTI for them.

Pendatun thanked Go for giving them a huge morale boost and a chance to meet his “favorite actor” Philip Salvador.

“This is really huge for us. For a moment, we forgot all our problems,” he said.


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