MANILA Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go on Tuesday night visited and extended financial assistance to the victims of a recent Pasig fire that left three children dead.
Go, together with representatives of the Office of the President (OP), arrived in Barangay Pinagbuhatan, Pasig City after accompanying President Rodrigo R. Duterte to the Philippine Rise Commemoration activity in Aurora.
Go said the OP provided a cash assistance of PHP40,000 to the two affected families.
While relaying the President's condolences and sympathy to the victims, Go offered to arrange transportation for those who want to return home to their provinces in Mindanao.
He said President Duterte instructed him to check on the situation in Barangay Pinagbuhatan and see how they can help the families.
"Gaya po noong nakaraang araw, pumunta ako sa Old Balara at Paranaque, ipinadala po ako ng pangulo para tingnan kung paano tayo makakatulong sa kanila (Like in previous days, I came here to check on your condition and provide whatever help you need)," he said.
"Nagbigay tayo ng tig-20,000 pesos (sa mga pamilya) at nagtanong ako kay konsehal kung ano pa yung kulang, pero sasagutin po yata ng city government (We gave the two families PHP20,000 each and asked the councilor what else is needed and I was told the city government would take care of it)," he added.
Monday morning's 30-minute fire, which started at around 6:27 a.m., gutted down a house on San Isidro St. in Barangay Pinagbuhatan where two families reside.
The fatalities, who were asleep when the fire engulfed the house, were identified as: Brian John Navidas, 2; John Andre Navidas, 4; and their sister Princess Joy Navidas, 7.
Go said the two families will get assistance to rebuild their house.
"Tutulong din po ang pangulo (The president will provide aid)," he guaranteed.
April Rose Mirandilla, mother of the three children, narrated how devastated she is that in one blink, her children were dead.
"Parang pumikit lang ako, wala na yung mga anak ko. Nanghihinayang ako, grabeng sisi ko. Dapat tinangay ko na lang sila lahat (In a blink of an eye, my children were gone. I should've brought them all with me)," she said.
Mirandilla said she was boiling water when she left the house to buy bread for that day's breakfast.
When she got back, their home was burning down with her kids nowhere to be seen outside. Mirandilla said she desperately tried to pry their door open, but with the thick smoke and raging fire, she was unable to do so.
Police and firefighters found the children's charred bodies during the clearing operation.
Mirandilla and her husband Roger Navidas are still clueless on how to move forward. They said they will think about Go's offer to fly them home to Surigao City.
"Nakatulong naman po si SAP Bong Go. Hindi namin akalain na sa layo namin, bibisitahin niya kami (We weren't expecting that he would visit since our place is quite far. He was able to help)," she said in an interview.
Roger said he appreciates the government's gesture to assist them.
"(Si SAP Go) binigyan niya ako ng sapatos, ipinagpalit yung tsinelas ko na marumi, para lang daw matuwa ako (SAP Go gave me shoes and said he wanted me to be happy)," he added.
Pasig City was the third of Go's community visit this week. The first one was in Old Balara, Quezon City and the second was in Barangay Tambo, ParaAaque City.
Go assured that visit to Filipino families, representing President Duterte, will continue as long as his schedule permits.
"Kung kaya kong mapuntahan at kung kaya ng panahon, pupuntahan natin po. Kung 'di kayang mapuntahan, may opisina naman kami (If my schedule permits, I would go but if not, my office is there to assist)," he added. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency