Mandaluyong fire victims get aid

MANILA Victims of a recent fire in Mandaluyong City who are deemed qualified may be relocated to government housing units, Special Assistant to the President Christopher "Bong" Go said Thursday.

During his visit and distribution of relief assistance to fire victims, Go said there are available units located in Bulacan, Cavite, and Rizal.

"Nakausap ko si NHA (National Housing Authority) General Manager Marcelino Escalada at noong nabalitaan ko na may mga nasunugan dito, (tinanong ko) may available relocation sites ba sa mga qualified na indigents, sabi niya mayroon (I've talked to NHA General Manager Marcelino Escalada and when I heard about what happened here, I asked if there are available relocation sites for qualified indigents, he said there are available units)," he told reporters.

"Ipinalilista namin then we'll validate (We asked them to sign up then we'll validate)," he added.

On Wednesday afternoon, several houses in a residential area in Barangay Addition Hills were razed by fire, affecting around 80 families.

Most of the victims are staying at the Jun Torres gymnasium, here.

The Bureau of Fire Protection is currently investigating the cause of the fire.

Go personally delivered the grocery packs, hygiene kits from the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Health. The city of Mandaluyong, through the City Social Welfare Department, has initially provided immediate help to families.

"Itong tulong mula po ito sa gobyerno, inyo po ito. Pera ng gobyerno, ahensya ng gobyerno, inyo po ito, 'di ito sa amin (This assistance is from the government, it's from you. This money is from the government, these are yours, not ours)," he said.

"Mula po opisina namin konting tulong at mula rin sa PAGCOR at PCSO mayroon ring darating na tulong (From our office we are also giving help and from the PAGCOR and PCSO, an aid will follow)," he added.

In what seemed like a tradition in his every social work visit, Go again traded his shoes for one of the victim's slippers. Students who were affected by the fire were also promised school supplies.

Go said a pregnant victim, and a parent whose child has a stage 4 cancer isolated in the evacuation area, are among those who sought for his assistance. Go vowed to arrange help, through the Malasakit Center, as well as other assistance programs by the government.

The Malasakit Center is an OP-funded free medicine and health services program for the poor.

During the interview, Go said the OP is planning to open more Malasakit centers, one each in the cities of Bacolod and Dumaguete and the provinces of Bohol, Pampanga, Palawan and Maguindanao.

"Ngayong September sigurado na 'yong sa Bacolod, Dumaguete, and Palawan," he said.

At present, there are three established in the Visayas, one in Davao, and one at the Philippine General Hospital in Manila.

Go said the program would be strengthened for those who cannot afford expensive medicines.

"Ito po 'yong gusto kong palawakin at palakasin, yong Malasakit Centers, kasi alam kong napakarami ng nangangailangan ng medisina, libreng gamot, sabi nga nong isa doon 'di na raw niya masustain 'yong gamot, nakakalungkot pero tutulungan namin hanggang sa kaya naming itulong (This is what we want to expand and strengthen � the Malasakit Centers because we know that there are so many who need free medicine, it's sad, but we'll help as long as we can)." (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency