VISIT TO SULU. Senator Christopher Lawrence Go visits fire victims in Jolo, Sulu on Thursday (Feb. 13, 2020). Go distributed relief and financial assistance to more than 2,000 families. (Contributed photo)

MANILA – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go traveled to one of the southernmost and isolated parts of the country, Sulu province, on Thursday to deliver assistance to fire victims.

More than 2,227 families, comprising 11,225 individuals, were left homeless after fire, caused by an electric overload, razed their houses and properties last February 3. The families have been evacuated to a nearby sports complex and tennis court in Jolo.

“Sa mga kababayan kong nasunugan, ‘wag po kayong mag-alala. Nandito po ang gobyerno. Andyan si Allah, Panginoon handang tumulong (To my fellowmen who are victims of the fire, don’t worry. Your government is here. Allah will provide),” Go said.

“Importante po, walang nasaktan. Trabaho po namin na magserbisyo sa bawat Pilipino, at gaya nang ipinangako ko noon, kahit saang sulok kayo ng Pilipinas ay pupuntahan ko po kayo hanggang kaya ng aking oras at katawan (It’s good that no one was hurt. It is our duty to serve every Filipino and as I promised, I will visit you wherever you are, so long as my time and my health allow it).”

Go, whose advocacies include ensuring immediate government response to calamities and natural disasters, brought relief and financial assistance to each family.

He also offered to provide new sets of school uniforms and shoes to each student affected by the incident.

Go said the schooling of the students should not be interrupted.

He encouraged the students to go back immediately to their respective schools so they would not miss any of their classes.

In his message to the fire victims, Go said as a public servant, it is his duty to visit Filipinos, most especially those who live far from Metro Manila, in their times of need to listen to their concerns and provide solutions to their daily struggles.

“Trabaho namin sa Senado ang legislation, constituency at representation. Hindi naman lahat ng mga Pilipino ang makakapunta ng opisina namin para humingi ng tulong. Kaya kami na ang bababa sa inyo at pakinggan ang inyong mga hinaing at makapagbigay ng solusyon sa inyong mga problema (Our work in the Senate covers legislation, constituency, and representation. Not every Filipino could come to our office to seek help. That is why we come to you to listen to your concerns and offer a solution to your problems),” he said.

Meanwhile, representatives of the National Housing Authority (NHA), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) were present to provide additional assistance to the residents.

The NHA provided cash assistance initially to 100 families whose houses were destroyed. The rest will be distributed next week.

The DSWD’s Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS) program provided financial assistance to each family while PCSO distributed grocery packs.

For individuals interested in skills training, TESDA offered a carpentry training program for them.

Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan expressed his appreciation for the senator’s efforts to bring service to Filipinos, especially in this time of need.

“Talagang sarili talaga ni Senator Bong Go na pumunta dito para ipaabot ang serbisyo ng pamahalaan (Senator Bong Go went all the way here on his own to extend government help),” Tan told reporters.

Go also thanked Tan and the people of Sulu for their support for him and the Duterte administration.

“Salamat din po kay Governor, sa lahat ng taga-Jolo, Sulu sa suporta ninyo sa akin noon. At ngayon, andito ako, handa akong magserbisyo sa inyo (I also thank the governor and people of Jolo, Sulu for their support. Now that I am here, I’m ready to serve you),” he said.

The Philippine Army, Philippine Coast Guard, and Philippine National Police also assisted the senator and the government agencies while providing aid to the fire victims. Private groups, such as the Fraternal Order of the Eagles, were also present to extend support. (PR)