The Office of the President (OP), through Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, is continuing then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s practice of personally visiting and checking on victims whenever a calamity, including fire, affects the community.
On Sunday, victims of two separate fire incidents in Quezon City and Paranaque City were visited by Sec. Go, together with several representatives from different government agencies.
“Gawain na po ito ng ating Pangulo noong Mayor pa po siya. Umiikot talaga sa Davao kung may mga nasunugan, may baha at may namamatayan po,” he told reporters in Barangay Tambo, Paranaque where six people perished in a fire that hit the area on May 9.
“Since na Pangulo na po siya, hindi naman po lahat kaya pa niyang ikutan, ako na lang po ang ipinadala niya dito,” he explained.
In Old Balara, QC
Go first visited residents of Road 2, in Barangay Old Balara, Quezon City where more than 50 families lost their homes to a fire Saturday morning.
Dr. Sally Espeleta, of the Department of Health (DOH), said the OP tasked several agencies, including them to assist in the occasional visit of Go to communities, in place of the Chief Executive.
Go, accompanied by residents, visited the razed area. The victims were later given an undetermined amount of cash assistance from the OP and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, and family packs from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and DOH.
At the end of the program, Go vowed to facilitate the home-bound travel of those from the provinces.
Norilyn Paglinawan, one of the Old Balara fire victims, said she is thankful for the immediate aid given by the OP.
“Makakatulong talaga sa amin,” she said.
Paglinawan is currently staying in a learning center together with other residents affected by the fire.
In Old Balara, Go was joined by Espeleta, representatives from the Department of DSWD, OP, Pagcor Vice President Jimmy Bondoc and celebrity Philip Salvador.
Tambo, Parañaque City
Go’s next stop on Sunday afternoon was at Quirino Avenue, Barangay Tambo, Parañaque City, where six members of a family perished in a fire that gutted down their apartment building on May 9.
The fatalities were identified as Marie Joy de Jesus, 27; Jomari Canaria, 6; Daniel Luis Canaria, 10; De Jesus’ aunt, Ana Donna Agrasada, 26; and her children Jake Amata, 6, and Jake Angelo Amata, 3.
The charred body of Marie Joy, who was still pregnant at the time of the incident, was found together with five others inside the rubble of their home on the third floor.
While still mourning, Marlon Amata, husband of Ana Donna, expressed gratitude that they were offered assistance.
“Ang sabi po, magsabi lang kami sa kanila kung anong kailangan,” he said.
The bereaved families are currently staying on a roadside along Quirino Avenue.
In an interview, Go, who was accompanied by Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, said his visit, aside from extending the President’s condolences, was to also relay the situation on the ground to concerned agencies.
“Kagaya po ng sinabi ko, ipinadala po ako ng Pangulo dito para makiramay po, lalo na dito anim po iyong namatay. Nakakalungkot na may nasawing buhay,” he said.
“Kaya po ako nandirito para po matugunan ng national government na ahensiya ng National Housing Authority kung ano po iyong maitutulong namin at pakinggan kaagad, immediate solution po,” he added.
During a short program in Old Balara and Tambo, Go swapped his shoes with two fire victims, a customary act he had been doing in every site visit. Go said he is now planning to launch his very own program titled “Sapatos ni SAP, Tsinelas i-i-swap.”
Still on its conception stage, SAP said he aims to expand the initiative to schools.
In all of his site trips, Go clarified that he is not campaigning for the senatorial elections next year.
“Walang kampanya po rito, bawal,” he said. “Galing po ako ng Davao, pinadala po ako rito ni President Duterte para makiramay sa inyo,” he told the fire victims.
Different sectors are, however, urging Go to seek for a Senate seat. On Sunday, a Malabon-Navotas movement titled “SAP2SEN” was launched in Malabon, with Malabon Mayor Antolin “Len Len” A. Oreta lll and Navotas Mayor John Rey Tiangco in attendance.
In photo: AID FOR QC FIRE VICTIMS. Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go visits fire victims at an evacution center on Road 2, Old Balara in Quezon City on Sunday (May 13, 2018). Upon the instruction of President Rodrigo Duterte, Go distributed some assistance to the victims and assured those who lost their houses of government support. (PNA photo by Oliver Marquez)