Bong Go assures that the Duterte administration will never tolerate corruption nor favor personalities based on connections

Reminds that businesses must be conducted lawfully

As Senator Christopher “Bong” Go appealed for fairness and impartiality in the ongoing Senate probe into the use of COVID-19 funds, he also assured the public that the Duterte administration will never tolerate any form of corruption nor favor personalities based on connections.

In a manifestation during the Blue Ribbon Hearing on Friday, September 17, he asked his fellow lawmakers to use the forum to uncover the truth and hear all sides.

“Ang pakiusap ko lang sa mga kasamahan ko, gamitin natin ang forum na ito para lumabas talaga ang katotohanan at maging patas tayo sa lahat. Pakinggan po natin ang lahat ng panig,” said Go during a Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on Friday, September 17.

The Senator also asked the resource persons to help in the investigation by telling the truth. “Ang pakiusap ko naman sa mga resource persons, makipagtulungan kayo at magsabi kayo ng totoo. Just tell the truth. ‘Yung katotohanan lang naman po para maliwanagan po ang lahat, para naman po hindi madamay ang mga inosente,” he said.

Go expressed his displeasure to some unfounded claims that President Rodrigo Duterte tolerates corruption just because particular individuals in question allegedly has connections with him.

“Ang problema po dito, ‘yung iba pinagpipilitan na malapit ang isang tao sa amin ni Pangulo, pero hindi dahil malapit sa amin ni Pangulo ay ibig sabihin ay nagbibigay pabor na kami. Nagkakamali po kayo,” said Go.

“Sa tinagal-tagal ko sa paninilbihan sa gobyerno, isa lang ang maipagmamalaki ko. Ako po, may delicadeza po ako. Iyan ang itinuro sa akin ni Pangulong Duterte at iyan po ang natutunan ko noong una po akong naglingkod sa kanya sa Davao City noon,” he added.

Go said that he and the President will not give out favors to anyone just because they are friends or supporters, especially at the expense of public interest.

“Alam n’yo po, mabait si Pangulong Duterte sa mga gustong tumulong. Pero hindi po namin ugali na magbigay ng pabor sa kaibigan o sa negosyate dahil hindi kami nakikinabang kahit kailan. Hindi namin kailangan dahil kuntento na kami kung ano po ang ibinigay ng Diyos sa amin. Wala na kaming hihilingin pa, kaya ibinabalik namin ang serbisyo para sa ating mga kababayan,” said Go.

“Kahit mga kaibigan kayo ni Pangulong Duterte, ako po ay witness diyan, kahit mga kaibigan ni Pangulong Duterte ang kaharap ko, parati niyang sinasabi, kung ano lang po ang tama, kung ano lang po ang naaayon sa batas,” he added.

As for those who are trying to link him and Duterte to alleged anomalies, Go said that they never intervened or used their influence in government transactions.

“Sa totoo lang po, simple lang naman ang tanong, nakikialam ba kami ni Pangulo? Nakialam ba si Pangulo? Nag-impluwensya ba ako o si Pangulong Duterte para sa mga negosyanteng ito? Ginamit ba mga pangalan namin? At parati naman sinasabi ni Pangulo noon, na kapag ginamit ang pangalan niya, ginamit ang pangalan ng pamilya niya, ako po kapag ginamit ang pangalan ko, consider it denied. Naalala ko pa po sa isang pagdinig sa Senado, kapag ginamit ang pangalan namin, consider it denied,” he said.

“Ang tanong naman po rito, nagkaroon ba ng pagkalugi ang gobyerno dahil kay Pangulong Duterte, dahil utos niya po? Mr. Chairman, wala naman pong ganoong utos ang ating Pangulo,” added Go.

While he acknowledged that businesses need to make profit, the Senator emphasized the Duterte administration’s stand that businesses need to conduct their activities, especially those with the government, lawfully.

“Hindi naman namin mapipigilan ang mga negosyante na mag-negosyo kung talagang legitimate naman ‘yan. Pero dapat ang negosyo ay naaayon sa batas. Walang tinatapakan, walang naaagrabyado. Kung legal ang negosyo ninyo, wala pong problema sa inyo,” Go stressed.

“Parating sinasabi ni Pangulong Duterte sa mga nakakausap niya na mga investor – just do what is right and what is legal. Basta nasa tama ka, welcome po kayong pumasok at hindi po kayo pahihirapan,” he added.

He referenced his time working with Duterte, who was then the mayor of Davao City, and said that the President has never tolerated individuals who do not respect the law. He claims that those that cooperate are given a fair shot to do business.

“Sa lahat po ng mga pumapasok na negosyo sa Davao City noon, kapag nagbigay ka, nabanggit ko po ito sa mga developers, kapag nagbigay ka sabi ni Pangulo, huwag ninyong tulungan. Pero kapag hindi ka nagbigay, tulungan ninyo po. Ayusin niyo mga papeles, alalayan niyo. You will be given a fair chance na magnegosyo lalo na makapagbibigay ng trabaho sa ating mga kababayan,” said Go.

“Pero kapag pumasok ka sa kalokohan o sa droga, ah ibang usapan na po iyon,” he added.

Proving Duterte’s zero tolerance for corruption, Go also cited the case of Michael Yang, a friend of President Duterte and who is now allegedly linked to Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp., a business entity which is involved in billion peso pandemic response contracts last year.

“Katulad po ni Michael Yang na pinagpipilitang malapit kay Pangulo at sa akin, nagkataon na kakilala siya ni Pangulong Duterte noong 1999 o 2001. Hindi ko pa po kilala ‘yan, kaya naging kakilala ko na lang po dahil kay Pangulong Duterte. Hindi ibig sabihin, porke’t nakilala o naging kaibigan ni Pangulong Duterte ay kukunsintihin na po namin sa kalokohan,” said Go.

“Ako mismo witness dito at narinig ko na sinabi ni Pangulong Duterte noon kay Michael Yang na pag gumawa ka kalokohan, gumawa ka iligal, pumasok ka sa droga, ililibing kita dito sa Davao. Ganyan po ang Pangulo. Wala siyang pinipili kahit kakilala o kaibigan,” he added.

Go then urged his colleagues to finally put to justice those who are found guilty of irregularities so the government can focus again on its pandemic response.

“Para matapos na ang hearings na ito at maka-focus na ang ating mga opisyal sa paglaban sa pandemyang ito, lalo na tumataas ang kaso, nasa gitna pa tayo ng laban kontra COVID-19,” he said.

139th Malasakit Center opens in Quezon City

As Bong Go reaffirms continued efforts to improve country’s health care system

On Monday, September 13, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go virtually attended the launch of the 139th Malasakit Center at Quirino Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City.

This is the 10th Malasakit Center in the city, in addition to the Lung Center of the Philippines, Novaliches District Hospital, Philippine Heart Center, Philippine Children’s Medical Center, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, East Avenue Medical Center, Veterans Memorial Medical Center, Philippine Orthopedic Center, and National Children’s Hospital.

In his speech, Go explained that the start of the Malasakit Center was a shared vision with President Rodrigo Duterte after they have personally witnessed the struggles of low-income families in seeking medical attention considering that most services are beyond their financial means.

“Kaya noong naging Pangulo siya (Duterte) naglagay tayo ng Malasakit Center sa Cebu. Sinubukan muna natin, sinubukan natin hanggang more than 300,000 na po ang natulungan po sa Cebu,” Go said.

“At ngayon po’y naging Senador po ako, isinabatas po natin itong Malasakit Center tuloy-tuloy po ang pagbubukas ng Malasakit Center, batas na ito ngayon. So, lahat po ng mga DOH-run hospitals ay magkakaroon ng Malasakit Center at hindi po kami titigil kung papaano pa po makatulong sa mga kababayan natin,” he added.

Principally authored and sponsored by Senator Go, Republic Act No. 11463, otherwise known as the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, mandates all hospitals administered and managed by the Department of Health and the Philippine General Hospital in the City of Manila to establish Malasakit Centers.

Other public hospitals may also establish their own provided they meet a standard set of criteria and guarantee the sustainability of their operations.

RA 11463 was one of the priority bills of the senator as part of his commitment as Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography to improve public health delivery to those in need, especially amid an ongoing pandemic.

“Wala na po akong nakikitang dahilan na hindi natin matulungan at masuportahan ‘yung mga mahihirap nating mga pasyente,” Go expressed.

“Napakahirap ng maging mahirap, lalung-lalo na po sa panahon ngayon na wala po silang matakbuhan. Ayaw ko pong mangyari na naghihingalo po ang ating mga kababayan na wala silang matakbuhan po,” he added.

Go reaffirmed in his remarks that through the joint efforts of the Department of Health and his office, Quirino Memorial Medical Center will be granted additional funds on top of the previously allotted budget to further support and improve the hospital.

“The more Malasakit (Centers) na puwede nating buksan, mas mabuti po at pakiusap ko lang naman sa susunod na administrasyon, kung sino man po ang papalarin ay sana po’y ipagpatuloy ninyo ang mga programang magaganda, nakakatulong naman po sa mga kababayan natin sana po’y ipagpatuloy ninyo,” Go noted.

Given the critical situation of hospitals nationwide caused by the alarming rates of COVID-19, Go then mentioned that he will continue to push for more measures that will enhance and expand the capabilities of the country’s health care system.

“Talo po nila ako sa debate doon pero hindi po ako sumusuko, pinaglalaban ko kahit isang linggo kami, alam naman natin na sinasadya lang patagalin para lang po pahirapan ‘yung mga hospital bills (in the Senate),” Go shared.

“Papaano po gagaling ‘yung pasyente, isang kama, apat na pasyente. Baliktad, dapat ng handa tayo, dapat nga mayroon tayong apat na hospital beds sa isang pasyente para ready po ‘yung tatlo lalong-lalo na po ngayon na nasa pandemya po tayo, hirap po ang ating mga kababayan,” he continued.

The Senator then commended medical frontliners for their selfless service, saying, “hindi po nababayaran ng kahit ano pa man ang sakripisyo niyo sa panahong ito kaya huwag niyo pong pabayaan ang mga kababayan natin.”

“Ospital talaga ng takbuhan ngayon lalong-lalo na po ang Quirino Memorial Medical Center, ‘yan po ang isa sa mga takbuhan ng ating mga kababayan sa panahon ng COVID, salamat po sa inyong sakripisyo,” he added.

As the Senator prioritizes the health and well-being of Filipinos, he then encouraged residents to take part in the vaccination program against COVID-19 as this would greatly help the medical frontliners; at the same, he mentioned that getting vaccinated will significantly contribute to the country’s return to normalcy.

He then reiterated his appeal to the government to look into the possibility of extending the vaccine roll-out to the general public to ensure population protection and herd immunity eventually.

“Importante po na nababalanse natin sa pagbabakuna. Napatunayan naman po sa datos ‘pag ikaw ay bakunado mas maiiwasan po ‘yung pagka-severe o pagkamatay,” Go said.

“Hindi po basta-basta makakuha ng bakuna sa ngayon, napakahirap po. Kaya importante huwag po nating sayangin. Kung ano ‘yung bakunang nasa harapan ninyo magpabakuna na ho kayo para protektado po kayo,” Go appealed.

After the event, Go’s team gave essentials such as grocery packs, meals, masks, face shields, and vitamins to 359 patients and 1,928 medical frontliners. Meanwhile, representatives from the Department of Social Welfare and Development gave financial assistance to the patients and 878 rank-and-file hospital employees.

Go also gave computer tablets, bicycles, and new pairs of shoes to select recipients.

Senator Go then thanked Representative Allan Benedict Reyes, Mayor Maria Josefina Tanya “Joy” Belmonte, Office of the President Assistant Secretary Girlie Veloso, Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino, Dr. Evelyn Victoria Reside, and other local officials for ensuring their constituents get necessary support during these trying times.

“Pakiusap lang, magtulungan lang tayo, magbayanihan po tayo, at magmalasakit tayo sa ating kapwa Pilipino. Kami naman po ni Pangulong Duterte ay hindi po kami titigil sa pagseserbisyo upang malampasan natin itong krisis na ito,” he ended.

Bong Go asks Gordon to inhibit as Chair of Blue Ribbon since being Chair of Red Cross raises possible conflict of interest

Says impartiality must be upheld in Senate probe

While he recognized the crucial role of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee in probing allegations of corruption, Senator Christopher Bong Go raised a possible conflict of interest on the part of the Committee Chair, Sen. Richard Gordon, who also serves as chair of an organization which entered into financial transactions with an agency that is part of the ongoing investigation.

In a privilege speech delivered at the Senate Session on Tuesday, August 31, Go stated that the “Filipino people deserve fairness and due process” from a committee that is held in high regard and plays a major role in the government’s anti-corruption drive.

“The Filipino people deserve fairness and due process, most especially in a committee that we hold in high regard. Napaka-crucial (ng role) ng Blue Ribbon dahil aminado naman tayong lahat na para umunlad ang bansa, kailangan linisin ang gobyerno,” said Go.

“Bilib ako sa accomplishments ng Senado, lalo na sa kontribusyon nito laban sa korapsyon, kaisa ninyo ako diyan. Anumang anomalya sa gobyerno, kaisa ninyo akong labanan ‘yan. Mula 2019 … marami na tayong nadiskubre, nai-report, at naaksyunan upang matugis ang mga magnanakaw sa kaban ng bayan. Halos lahat niyan ay malaking itinulong ng mga Blue Ribbon hearings,” he affirmed.

Go, however, expressed concern over the committee’s investigation into the handling of the COVID-19 funds, noting that the chair leading the inquiries also heads the Philippine Red Cross, which entered into a multi-million peso Memorandum of Agreement with the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation early on in the pandemic.

“Hindi ba may conflict of interest na isa sa iniimbestigahan mo ay ka-transaksyon ng organisasyong pinamumunuan mo? Nagtatanong lang … Dagdag pa nga diyan, hindi ba disadvantageous sa gobyerno at against the law ang paghingi ng advance payment? Anyway, let us save that discussion for another forum,” continued Go.

“In the spirit of fairness and impartiality, shouldn’t the Blue Ribbon Committee Chair inhibit himself from further hearing all matters involving PhilHealth? Make no mistake … I will not present any conclusions here without due process and fairness. Tinuturuan ako ng tama at kailanman ay magiging patas ako. Sana naman maging patas rin kayo,” he urged.

The PRC is a non-profit humanitarian organization that has provided disaster relief and emergency assistance in the Philippines, among its other contributions. In May 2020, it entered into a multi-million peso agreement with PhilHealth that required an advance payment of P100 million which may possibly be in conflict with auditing rules and regulations.

The Senator emphasized his respect for the committee chair but noted that Gordon has shown unequal treatment of his colleagues. Go called him out for failing to afford him the respect and courtesy befitting of a fellow senator and encouraged the latter to exercise fairness and respect due process in order for the truth to come out for the benefit of the Filipino public.

“Sabi niya pa naman, patas siya. Patas nga ba? Sabi niya, lahat pwede magsalita sa hearing niya, totoo nga ba? Sabi niya, the truth must come out, pero bakit parang iba ata pinapalabas niya? Prangkahan lang. Doon lang tayo sa totoo. Hayaan nalang natin ang publiko ang humusga, anyway napanood niyo naman po,” continued Go.

“Malaki ang respeto ko sa inyo noon pa … Palagi akong nagpapakumbaba sa inyo, kaya siguro ang trato mo sa akin hindi kapwa Senador. Kahit sa mga hearings … ang trato mo sa akin parang resource person lang na pwede mong barahin habang nagsasalita. Other Senators were accorded the privilege to have an opening statement in the hearings. Bakit ako kailangan mag-stick sa topic na gusto mo?” he pointed out, before adding that Gordon also unfairly scolded him for PhilHealth’s alleged delayed payments to the PRC.

”Pati ako nadadamay tinatawagan mo, bakit hindi nababayaran? Ako, kasamahan mo sa gobyerno, papagalitan mo kami, ano namang kinalaman ko? Tulay lang ako … sa Executive para mapabilis ang lahat ng proseso,” maintained Go.

The Senator stated that he is already being careful with his words because of his respect for the institution and his colleagues. But just like them, he pointed out that he too represents the Filipino people to whom he owes the privilege to serve and speak in this chamber.

He added that he always abides by President Rodrigo Duterte’s instructions to speak out on any wrongdoing and expressed disappointment at the proceedings for failing to be impartial in probing the allegations of anomalies in the use of COVID-19 funds.

“Tulad ng bilin sa akin ni Pangulong Duterte, kung may nakikita akong mali, magsasalita ako! Mapapaisip ka talaga dahil sa hearing sila na ang nagtatanong, sila ang nag-iimbestiga, sila rin ang sumasagot, sila na rin ang huhusga at gagawa ng konklusyon. I know this is not a judicial court but it does not take a lawyer to figure out that you cannot be the judge, jury, and executioner all at the same time,” said Go.

“Ang nagtatanong ay sila na rin ang sumasagot, sila na rin ang humusga at may agad nang nagawang konklusyon. Bakit sa rami ng resource persons na ipinatawag, parang iilang Senador lang ang nagkekwento ng kanilang bersyon at interpretasyon. Bakit niyo pa pinatawag kung kayo rin lang po ang magsasalita?” he asked, before adding that his colleagues already seem to have a narrative or position in mind.

”Kapag pinagsalita ninyo at hindi nakalinya sa gusto ninyo, nagagalit at naiinis kayo. It seems like some already had an answer in their minds and if they did not get what they want to hear, they will say the resource person is evasive.”

Nevertheless, Go stressed his commitment to support the fight against corruption, as demonstrated by his participation in several inquiries including those on the alleged corruption in PhilHealth and the Bureau of Corrections. He called on those who boast about their accomplishments, saying that everyone plays “a part in pursuing a clean government regardless of which branch of government we are in or what position we hold”.

“Nagkaisa tayo diyan na labanan natin ang kalokohan at katiwalian sa gobyerno at pagkakamali, but out of fairness, I am giving credit where credit is due. But let us not brag about it as if the Filipino people owe us anything,” added Go.

The Senator ended his message vowing to resign should he be found guilty of any wrongdoing. He insisted that he stands by his name and reputation as a humble public servant from Davao City.

“Ito lang ang puhunan namin, pangalan at prinsipyo. Mga taga-Davao lang kami at mahal namin ang aming pagseserbisyo sa aming kapwa Pilipino.”

Bong Go declines PDP-Laban’s National Executive Committee endorsement to be presidential candidate

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go officially declined the endorsement of the National Executive Committee of the ruling party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Laban ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) for him to be nominated as the party’s presidential candidate, alongside President Rodrigo Duterte who was endorsed to run for the vice-presidential post.

In a letter addressed to party president and Department of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, Go said that while he is deeply honored by the trust and confidence, he respectfully declines the endorsement.

“I am deeply honored by the trust and confidence of the members of the NEC in my capability to run for the presidency this coming 2022 elections. For a simple man who hails from a city in the South, the endorsement alone by esteemed members and officers of the NEC is a great personal honor for me,” said Go.

“As much as I wish to respond to the clamor of many of our partymates, I most respectfully decline the said endorsement. As I have said many times before, I am not interested in the presidency,” he added.

The letter comes after the PDP-Laban NEC adopted Resolution No. 5, series of 2021, last August 4, which endorses Go as the party’s presidential candidate and President Rodrigo Duterte for the vice-presidential post.

As the Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Go said that he would rather devote his time and attention in helping the government and Filipinos overcome the pandemic as soon as possible.

“This includes not just crafting laws but also performing representation and constituency services, particularly by helping those in need, as I have been doing ever since,” he further explained.

In the letter’s conclusion, Go stated that he will leave his political future in God’s hands.

“Ipapasa-Diyos ko na lang ang lahat,” concluded Go.

Earlier, Go also thanked the Filipino public for their trust and support following several independent surveys showing high trust and performance ratings for him, President Duterte, and the whole administration.

“Maraming salamat po sa inyong tiwala, lalung lalo na po sa administrasyon ni Pangulong Duterte. Marahil ay nakakita po ang mga supporters niya ng rason para maipagpatuloy ang mga magagandang nagawa ng Pangulo. Continuity po ang kanilang hinahanap,” Go earlier said.

“Ngunit hindi pa rin nagbabago ang isip ko. Hindi talaga ako interesado. Unahin niyo na lang ang mga may gusto talagang tumakbo bilang Pangulo. Kung ako tatanungin ninyo, mas gugustuhin ko na ako’y tahimik na nagseserbisyo para sa kabutihan ng kapwa kong Pilipino bilang inyong Senador,” he added.

The Senator, who continues to go around the country to help Filipinos in crisis situations, such as fire victims, victims of natural disasters, displaced workers and vulnerable sectors of the pandemic, earlier said that his public service will not be hampered by talks about the coming elections and he will not limit himself to being a legislator only.

“As I have said numerous times, I will not limit myself to legislation only. Parte rin ng tungkulin ko ang representation at constituency services. Magseserbisyo ako sa Pilipino kahit saan man sila sa mundo para tugunan ang mga suliranin, pakinggan ang mga hinaing, at mag-iwan ng ngiti sa oras ng kanilang pagdadalamhati,” Go previously said.

“Focus muna tayo, serbisyo muna tayo. Mahalaga po nandiyan po ang ating recovery measures at importante po walang maiwan sa ating pagbangon bilang nagkakaisa at mas matatag na bansa,” he added.

When asked about his considerations for the upcoming elections, he hopes that whoever would lead the country next can continue the efforts that President Duterte has started towards providing a more comfortable life for all Filipinos.

“Kung papaano maipagpapatuloy ang mga magagandang pagbabago na nasimulan ni Pangulong Duterte, lalo na ang kampanya laban sa kriminalidad, korapsyon at iligal na droga. At kung papaano rin maipagpatuloy ang pagkakaroon ng isang gobyerno na may malasakit sa kanyang mamamayan para maiahon ang ating bansa mula sa krisis na ito,” he emphasized.

“Iyon ang aking konsiderasyon sa pagpili ng susunod na mamumuno sa ating bansa. Importante na may katimbang si Pangulong Duterte na kayang ipagpatuloy ang mga nagawa niya. Iyan ang continuity na sinasabi ko. Pero please lang, huwag lang ako,” he reiterated.

First Congressional District Office distributes wheelchairs for senior citizens

DAVAO CITY – The office of the First Congressional District Representative Paolo “Pulong” Duterte initially distributed on Thursday over 300 wheelchairs to seven barangays here in the city.

The recepient barangays were Catalunan Grande, Catalunan Pequeño, 5-A, Matina Aplaya, Dumoy, Ma-a, and Magtuod, all situated under the First District.

Catalunan Grande barangay councilor Nicolasa Morata said that there were senior citizens who earlier requested a wheelchair, as some are having difficulty walking because of their respective health conditions.

“Gisabutan pa namo sa barangay karon ang proseso sa pag distribute aning wheelchairs. Naay lima among ibilin sa barangay para magamit sa vaccination sites,” Morata said.

Morata also said that they have to assess the senior citizens who are really in need of wheelchairs. She added that there are 3,857 senior citizens in Catalunan Grande.

NHA Madelwadan Ma-a Senior Citizen Chapter head Jaime Calledo, Sr. echoed the same concern. He said the seniors will be happy with the young congressman’s kind assistance.

Masca Matina Aplaya Senior Citizen Association head Theresita R. Baniog also thanked the First Congressional District Office for the immediate assistance. She said these wheelchairs will surely be utilized by the intended beneficiaries.

The First Congressional District Office has been giving either cash and in-kind assistance to its constituents. Aside from wheelchairs, the senior citizens of the first congressional district continue to receive free maintenance medication monthly from the young Duterte’s Office.