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Bong Go provides aid to jeepney operators and drivers in Pasay City; vows to continue acting as a bridge to bring their concerns to gov’t

October 22, 2020 - Thursday 9:10 AM by MDM

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During an aid distribution event on Tuesday, October 20 in Pasay City, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go engaged with jeepney operators and drivers to listen to their concerns and help find solutions to the challenges they are currently facing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He committed to them that he will personally raise these issues to President Rodrigo Duterte. 

“Bilang tulay ninyo sa executive [branch] ay ipaparating ko kaagad. Pero dapat balansehin muna ang safety ng bawat driver at pasahero dahil delikado pa ang sitwasyon. Kaya nga po nandidito ang national agencies natin para makapagbigay ng pansamantalang tulong sa kanila,” Go said in an interview after the event. 

“Ako naman ay tutulong ako na maisaayos ang operasyon ng kabuhayan ninyo once declared na po ng Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases na safe na ang mga ruta. Sundin lang muna natin dahil sabi ko nga sa kanila, ang kapakanan ninyo pong mga driver at pasahero ang magiging pangunahing konsiderasyon sa mga desisyon ng IATF,” he explained. 

The Senator acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic had worsened the economic struggles of vulnerable sectors, including jeepney drivers who rely on a daily income in order to provide basic necessities for their families. 

“Hindi lang naman [jeepney operators and drivers], usually po sa mga market po nahihirapan din sila dahil doon po ‘yung mga vulnerable. Delikado po, madaling nagkakahawaan doon, kaya tumutulong at namimigay tayo ng pagkain, mask at face shield para maprotektahan sila at mapakiusapan sila na mag-cooperate with the government,” Go, who serves as chair of the Senate Committee on Health, said. 

“We need to help each other. Kailangan natin magbayanihan at magmalasakit sa ating kapwa Pilipino. Magtulungan lang po tayo, tiis lang po. Alam kong hirap sila. Kami rin po dito ni Pangulong Duterte, hirap kami sa totoo lang po. Halos araw-araw wala kaming tulog pero nagpapalakas ng loob namin ay ang taumbayan,” he shared. 

The event, attended by 600 members of the Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association [JODA], was held at Timoteo Paez Elementary School in Pasay City. Each beneficiary was provided a meal, food pack, masks and face shields. 

“Patuloy lang kami magseserbisyo sa kanila. Sabi ko nga sa kanila kung ano pwede namin maitulong ay handa kami tumulong sa kanila,” Go reiterated. 

To promote their use as an alternative mode of transportation, Go also gave away bicycles to select recipients. Others were given tablets for their children to use for their online classes as part of the blended learning being implemented in schools. 

“Kung may nakikinig na bata dito, mag-aral kayong mabuti. Alam ninyo ba ang inyong mga magulang ay halos nagpapakamatay magtrabaho para lang kayo ay makapag-aral? Kaya bilang ganti ay mag-aral kayo ng mabuti,” Go asked students. 

Go and his team were joined by representatives from the Department of Social Welfare and Development who gave away financial aid and additional food packs. The Department of Trade and Industry gave its commitment to extend assistance to beneficiaries wishing to seek alternative livelihood opportunities upon completing their assessments. 

The Senator reassured the beneficiaries of the administration’s continuing commitment to protect the poor and vulnerable during the pandemic. He also ate lunch with some of the leaders in an eatery nearby. 

“Mayroong tayong lider o timon ngayon na hindi kayo pinapabayaan. Huwag kayong mag-alala dahil kung mayroon ng vaccine na safe ay uunahin namin ang mga mahihirap at frontliners — kasama na diyan ang mga miyembro ng mga JODA para makapagmaneho na kayo ng normal,” he pledged. 

Go personally offered assistance to beneficiaries struggling with medical conditions and requiring treatment. He also urged them to avail of medical and financial assistance from the nearest Malasakit Center located inside the Pasay City General Hospital. 

Go went on to thank the various officials who lent their support to the event, including DSWD Undersecretary Aimee Neri, DTI Assistant Secretary Flor Amante, Congressman Antonino Calixto, Pasay City Mayor Imelda Calixto-Rubiano, and Pasay City United Transport Federation president Mar Valbuena, among others.

Despite the ongoing public health crisis, the Senator also continues to reach out and extend much needed relief to Filipinos in crisis situations. Most recently, he provided aid to public market vendors in Cainta, Rizal and cemetery workers in Parañaque City. 

“Patuloy akong tutulong, lalong-lalo na sa mga mahihirap at mga pinaka-apektado ng krisis. Bisyo ko po ang magserbisyo sa inyo. Tuloy dapat ang serbisyo lalo na sa panahong hirap na hirap na ang mga kapwa nating Pilipino. Gagawin po natin ang lahat sa abot ng ating makakaya para magbigay ng tulong at mag-iwan ng ngiti sa oras ng inyong pagdadalamhati,” Go said. 

“Magtulungan lang tayo. Magbayanihan at magmalasakit sa kapwa natin. Malalampasan din natin ang mga krisis na ito,” he assured. 

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