Go gives aid to Pasay PUJ operators, drivers
(The Philippine Star) - October 22, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — During an aid distribution event in Pasay City on Tuesday, Sen. 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 with President Duterte.

“As your bridge to the executive branch, I will relay (the issues to the President) immediately. But we should balance the safety of each driver and passenger because of the delicate situation. That is why our national agencies are here to provide temporary help to them,” Go said in an interview after the event.

“For my part, I will help fix the operations of your business once the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases declares your routes safe. Let’s follow for now because like I told them, the well-being of drivers and passengers will be the main consideration for the decision of the 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.

“Not only (jeepney operators and drivers), usually at the market they are also having a hard time because that’s where the vulnerable are. It’s dangerous, it’s easy to get infected there. That’s why we are helping and giving food, masks and face shields in order to protect them and to ask them to cooperate with the government,” Go, chair of the Senate committee on health, said.

“We need to help each other. We need to help and sympathize with our fellow Filipinos. Let’s help each other endure. I know they are suffering hardships. I and President Duterte are also suffering hardship, to be honest. Almost every day we lose sleep but what strengthens us is our countrymen,” he said.

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.

“We will continue giving service to them. As I told them, whatever help we can provide, we are ready to help them,” 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.

“If there are children listening here, study well. Did you know that your parents almost kill themselves at work just so you can go to school? So, in exchange, continue to study well,” Go said.

Go and his team were joined by representatives from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) who gave away financial aid and additional food packs.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 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 had lunch with some of the leaders.

“We have a leader that won’t leave you. Do not worry because if there will be a vaccine that’s safe, we will prioritize the poor and frontliners – that includes the members of JODA so that you may be able to work normally,” he said.

Go personally offered assistance to beneficiaries struggling with medical conditions and requiring treatment. He also urged them to avail themselves 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, Rep. Antonino Calixto, Pasay City Mayor Imelda Calixto-Rubiano and Pasay City United Transport Federation president Mar Valbuena.

Despite the ongoing public health crisis, the senator continues to reach out and extend much needed relief to Filipinos in crisis situations.

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