By Rodolfo Andal
PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte and his Special Assistant Christopher “Bong” Go on Friday met with families who were left homeless by a recent fire that razed a community from a small barangay in Zamboanga Sibugay province and pledged to distribute free money sourced from government funds.
This developed shortly after Duterte and Go attended the 69th Araw ng Ipil at the Ipil Municipal Plaza in Zamboanga Sibugay.
Duterte and Go went to Barangay Labuan where they met with some 400 homeless families.
The President pledged to provide housing for the affected families. He also promised that the government will give cash assistance amounting to PhP6,500 to the each family of fire victims.
Of the Php6,500 cash assistance, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will provide PhP5,0000 while remaining PhP1,500 will be equally shared by the Philippine Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes (PCSO).
Moreover, Duterte asked Go to release from the President’s fund an additional PhP7,000 per family thus bringing to PhP13,500 the cash assistance to be distributed.
Aside from from the government assistance, the victims of the Zamboanga fire were also received help from a group called Friends of Bong Go (FOBG).
Led by Mariam Celia Hahalul-Hataman, the group donated forty pairs of brand new shoes, school supplies, and provided aid and comfort to the victims of the fire.
According to Ms. Hataman, the funds used for the purchase of the donated items where sourced from private individuals who shared their common cause. She also appealed to her friends, relatives and community leaders to distribute shoes to the affected families, to show their support for President Duterte and SAP Go.
Meanwhile, in Jolo, Sulu another fire that razed several houses in two densely populated barangays. The houses, which were on Barangays Walled City and Busbus, were built of light materials. The massive fire resulted in a displacement of 3,183 families or 13,296 individuals.
Inspired by the “Sapatos ni SAP, Tsinelas Ka-Swap” advocacy, supporters and friends of SAP Go decided conduct relief operations in Lamnayong Elementary School. The school serves as one of the five evacuation centers for the affected families of the fire that erupted last July 24.
Just like in Zamboanga, the government, administration supporters, and civic volunteers from the province of Sulu and nearby municipality of Tawi-Tawi came to help the victims.
Meanwhile, fire victims from Cebu get swift relief from private individuals following an appeal from Go, who is rumored to be preparing to join the coming senatorial race.
“Masyado pa pong maaga para pagusapan ang politika. Mas maiigi sana kung ang gawin na lang natin ay tumulong tayo sa ating mga kababayan na nangangailangan,” says Go.
The privately led relief operations benefited a total of 221 families from Sitio Kauswagan in Barangay Basak-Pardo and Sitio Sto. Niño in Barangay Kinasang-an Pardo.