Around 500 families affected by two separate fire incidents in Navotas and Quezon City received financial and humanitarian assistance from several government agencies led by the Office of the President (OP) on Saturday.
OP, through Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, and representatives from the local government, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Department of Health (DOH) distributed the aid to the families.
In both cities, Go said President Rodrigo Duterte sent him to personally oversee the distribution and extend other assistance OP can provide.
Narito ako ipinadala ni President Duterte para magbigay ng immediate solution,” he said.
“May konting financial (assistance) from our office, from PAGCOR, and from the PCSO (Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office), nag ambag-ambag kami. From DSWD nagbigay ng grocery packs, and hygiene packs from DOH, sa gobyerno naman po ito, ibinalik lang,” he added.
Bridging people, offices
One of the main concerns raised during the visit was assistance on housing. In Barangay North Boulevard Bay North, Navotas, the property where most of the razed houses were built, still have no titles.
The property, then zoned for industrial development, was amended as residential. Navotas Mayor John Rey Tianco said they now need to secure a certificate of zoning compliance to have the area formally titled.
“Itong area na ito, ina-apply sa Department of Environment and Natural Resources para matituluhan,” Tianco said. “Yung kulang nalang po sa papeles at ‘yun magkaka-title na.”
Hearing this concern, Go assured the residents that OP will coordinate with the concerned offices in DENR to further assist them.
“Concerning sa national government, aatasan namin ang DENR para mapabilis po (ang paglalakad) tungkol sa papeles ninyo,” he said.
In Sitio Palanan, Barangay Vasra, Quezon City, the fire victims were likewise assured by Go that the Department of Agriculture (DA) and National Housing Authority (NHA) already committed to assist in the rebuilding of houses gutted down by the fire.
Vasra Kagawad Nena Francisco said about 417 families were affected by the blaze on Wednesday.
On specific assistance, she said they need materials to rebuild the houses. “Ang nirerequest namin, yung tenement, maging permanenteng sa amin na rin po.”
Go, during the site visit, called DA Sec. Manny Piñol and NHA General Manager Jun Escalada to relay the residents’ concerns.
“Nakausap ko kanina si (Agriculture) Secretary Manny Pinol, nandidito siya kahapon and he assured that pababalikin yung mga tao rito, nakausap ko rin si NHA manager Jun Escalada para matulungan kung ano puwedeng gawin dito, para mapabilis po at kung anong puwedeng itayo rito sa lupa ng DA,” Go said.
Francisco said this is a welcome development for them.
“It is now a step forward para mapermanente na rin kami rito,” she said, referring to the assurance made by Go.