Go vows to fight for the rights of the Filipinos; tells US senators on de Lima: “Nakakaloko kayo”

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go expressed his desire to fight for the rights and welfare of the Filipinos during his speech at the 118th Balangiga Day Commemoration in Balangiga, Eastern Samar on Saturday, September 28. 
The Balangiga encounter was a successful surprise attack carried out by Filipino fighters against the US troops during the Philippine-American War. It is considered by historians as one of the greatest displays of the bravery of the Filipinos fighting for their freedom.
In his message, the senator said that the victory of Filipinos in Balangiga is a testament to their bravery, dignity and love of country.
“Sa araw na ito, ipinamalas ng ating mga ninuno sa Balangiga ang kanilang katapangan upang ipaglaban ang ating kalayaan at kasarinlan mula sa mga Amerikano,” Go said. 
“Matagal mang tapos na ang digmaan at malaya na tayo mula sa ating mga mananakop, sana po ay patuloy na magsilbing inspirasyon sa atin ang engkwentro sa Balangiga. Pruweba po ito ng katapangan at karangalan ng ating lahing Pilipino,” he added.
Go also noted that there is much more to celebrate this year with the historic Balangiga bells being finally back in the country after 117 years. 
“Doble po ang selebrasyon natin ngayon dahil ito ang kauna-unahang Balangiga Encounter Day Commemoration na kapiling na natin ang mga makasaysayang Balangiga bells,” said Go.
For decades, the Philippine government had consistently asked the United States to return the historical artifacts, which were taken by American soldiers as “spoils of war” from the Balangiga church in 1901. 
During his 2017 State of the Nation address, President Rodrigo Duterte again demanded the return of the bells. Calling it as a move “to forge stronger friendship with the Philippines”, the US agreed to return the bells which returned home in December last year.
The senator, in his message, detailed how the journey of their return was initiated by the President.
“There was one time, nagha-hapunan kami ni Pangulong Duterte kasama ang isang doktor. Napunta ang usapan namin sa Balangiga bells na noon ay nasa Amerika pa,” Go said.
“Nasabi nung doktor sa Pangulo, ‘Atin ‘yung mga kampana na ‘yun. Sa Pilipinas ‘yun. Dapat ibalik sa atin,’” he added.
Go commended the political will of the President as instrumental for the return of the bells.
“Dito mo makikita ang political will niya. Sa SONA niya noong 2017, talagang inutusan niya ang Amerika na ibalik sa atin ‘yung mga kampana,” said Go. 
He added, “Kaya naman noong nakaraang taon, buwan ng Disyembre, sa wakas, naibalik sa ating bansa ang tatlong Balangiga bells. Naibalik sa atin ang mga ito dahil sa katapangan ng Pangulo at pagmamahal niya sa ating bansa.”
The senator, who was the aide of the President for more than twenty years, said he plans to emulate his bravery and strong leadership. 
“Alam po ninyo, strong leader ang Pangulo. Kapag nagsalita ‘yan, talagang nasusunod. Nakita niyo naman, kahit Amerika, walang nagawa kung hindi isauli sa atin ‘yung mga kampana.”
“Bilang mentor ko, marami po akong natutunan sa kanya. He is my inspiration in public service. Kaya naman ngayong nasa Senado na ako, ipinapangako ko po sa inyo na, tulad niya, magiging matapang na boses din ako ng mga Pilipino,” Go said. 
During the event, Go also commented on the news that the US Senate panel approved an amendment in an appropriations bill that will ban Philippine government officials involved in the detention of Senator Leila De Lima. He said he condemns such act of the some American senators. 
“Nakakaloko kayo. I condemn this act by a handful US senators that seeks to ban officials of the Philippine government involved in the detention of Sen. Leila de Lima,” said Go. 
“It is an affront to our sovereignty and to our ability to govern ourselves. It unduly pressures our independent courts and disrespects the entire judicial process of the Philippines by questioning its competence,” he added. Go also said that the senators who proposed the initiative must also be banned in the Philippines.
“I will suggest to President Duterte to ban American legislators from entering our country for interfering in our internal affairs. These senators think they know better than us in governing ourselves,” said Go.
He added, “I recall one particular incident in in Davao City when an American citizen hit my car in a vehicular accident. He was arrogant and shameless. He refused to produce his driver’s license when asked by our traffic enforcers.”
Go also stressed that De Lima’s detention is in accordance to Philippine laws.
“Sen. Leila de Lima is being detained upon lawful order of an independent court after a careful and thorough determination of her case. Her detention, arising from her involvement in illegal drugs, was affirmed by no less than the Supreme Court of the Republic of the Philippines.”
Amid all these moves to interfere in the country’s sovereignty, Go also vowed to fight for the rights of all Filipinos, just like the President.
“Katulad ni Pangulong Duterte, ipaglalaban ko ang ating mga karapatan. Kasama ng mga kapwa nating Pilipino, asahan niyong ipaglalaban ko ang dignidad at kapakanan ng mga kababayan ko,” said Go. He added that he and the President are willing to go to jail for the Filipinos.
“Willing po kami na makulong para sa mga Pilipino, para ipaglaban ang inyong mga karapatan,” declared Go.
In the same manner that the President fought for the return of the historical artifacts, the senator also said that he will dedicate the same passion to bring peace and progress to the country.
“Katulad ng Balangiga bells, hindi kami titigil hangga’t hindi natin nakakamit ang kaunlaran at kapayapaan na matagal na nating inaasam.”

Bong Go lays down legislative agenda to benefit LGUs; urges city mayors to work together to continue the positive change happening nationwide

President Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go attended the 69th National Executive Board Meeting of the League of Cities of the Philippines on Friday, September 27, in Dusit Hotel, Davao City where the senator delivered a short message explaining his legislative agenda. He also expressed his deep respect and admiration of city mayors who continue to provide quality service to their respective constituents.
“As all of you probably know, I have been President Rodrigo Duterte’s assistant for more than twenty years, and, in most of those years, he was the mayor of Davao City,” Go said during his message.
He added, “It is not an exaggeration for me to claim that I understand the challenges that city mayors face and I highly respect and admire you for your service and dedication to your respective cities.”
Noting the tremendous work that city mayors undertake, Go told that he would like to continue helping the city leaders now that he is in the Senate.
“Ngayong nasa Senado na ang inyong Kuya Bong, isa kayo sa laging inaalala at ipinaglalaban ko. Nais kong matulungan kayo upang magpatuloy sa paglago ang lahat ng mga lungsod sa ating bansa,” said Go.
The Senator then shared the different measures he filed so far in the Senate to foster the growth and development of cities throughout the country and promote the welfare of their local leaders.
“I have filed a bill seeking to increase the salary of all civilian employees of the government, including LGU personnel. This will allow you to hire competent professionals and keep the existing ones because they are satisfied with their compensation,” Go said.
“I also filed a bill that seeks to expand the purposes and applications of the Special Education Fund so that you can use it in providing free uniforms, school supplies, and related items to the students in your localities,” he added.
Vowing to continue to go around the country, visiting victims of natural disasters and listening personally to the concerns of the masses, Go said that he has also filed a bill to reinforce the country’s disaster resilience, management capability and efforts.
“Another one seeks to create the Department of Disaster Resilience which provides for the establishment of safe and permanent evacuation centers in disaster-prone areas. These measures will help mayors ensure the safety of the people and manage the resources of the city in times of calamities,” the senator said.
As chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Go said that he also seeks to prioritize the enhancement of the country’s healthcare system by filing a measure to institutionalize Malasakit Centers, and another to allow municipal or city mayors appoint at least three health workers per barangay.
“Sa laki ng pakinabang at dami ng natutulungan ng mga Malasakit Centers, kailangang masiguro natin na magpapatuloy ang operasyon ng mga ito kahit sino pa ang nakaupo sa Malacañang. Kaya naghain ako ng Senate bill na naglalayong ma-institutionalize ang mga Malasakit Centers bilang kaakibat ng Universal Health Care Law,” Go said.
“Naghain din po ako ng Senate bill na nag-aatas sa mga mayor na magtalaga ng hindi bababa sa tatlong barangay health workers (BHWs) sa bawat barangay na inyong nasasakupan, at ang mga (BHWs) na ito ay bibigyan ng suweldo at mga benepisyo kagaya ng mga regular government employee.”
Expressing his desire to “work on legislation that the league of cities needs”, Go said that his office will always be open to the concerns of the organization.
“These are some of the work that I have done inside the Senate, and for the whole duration of my term, I will serve with utmost dedication and compassion. My office is always open for your needs and concerns. Rest assured that I will work on legislation that the league of cities needs,” he said.
He also urged the local leaders to work with him to effect positive change on the country. “So, let us work together. The national government and the local government units must help each other so that the positive change that is happening in our country will continue.”
Meanwhile, Go also thanked the local leaders for their support during the elections, saying that he respects them as they are “superstars in their own right.”
“Maraming, maraming salamat po sa tulong niyo,” the senator said. 
“Alam niyo, ako natutunan ko talaga kay Mayor Duterte noon, dahil naging mayor siya ng 20 years sa Davao, mag ‘sir’ at ‘ma’am’ ako sa inyo. Alam niyo kung bakit? Dahil ang mga mayor, pinili ‘yan ng mga tao dahil superstar sila in their own right. Ginagalang ko po kayong lahat,” he added. 

Dismantling of Tadeco biosecurity fences averted due to mistake in date of memo

A “mistake” on the date of the memo sent to the Bureau of Corrections from the Office of the Governor of Davao del Norte has averted the planned dismantling of gates inside the Tagum Agricultural Development Company (Tadeco).

In a video posted on Tadeco Ko Bai Facebook page, lawyers of Tadeco claimed that the supposed schedule for the dismantling of the Tadeco fences is on October 7, 2019 as stated in the memo sent by the office of Governor Edwin Jubahib to the Bureau of Corrections.

In the said video, Gov. Jubahib could be overheard saying that his memo stated for a September 25 and not October 7.

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But when shown a copy of the said memo, Jubahib and other provincial officials said that they will instead be doing a road maintenance instead of a dismantling of gates as they originally planned.

Davao del Norte Governor Edwin Jubahib has ordered for the dismantling of biosecurity fences in Tanglaw, Bugtong Lubi and El Canto located in the towns of Braulio E. Dujali and Sto. Tomas that have been installed by Tadeco for years now.

It was learned that the Governor’s office sent a notice to Tadeco for the dismantling of the biosecurity facilities as they are said to be “illegal contruction on public road”.

The governor reportedly invoked as legal basis the DILG Circular 2019-121 mandating LGUs to clear all obstructions on public roads.

The company lawyers however argued that the roads subject of the clearing are not public roads.

They are said to be farm roads inside the joint venture agreement area between Tadeco and the national government and is within Davao Penal Colony reservation.

The company’s lawyers have also repeatedly explained in the past that the said roads are not closed to the public.

But for some biosecurity measures to prevent spread of the Panama disease in bananas, people using the road are required to pass thru the tire bath and foot bath.

The provincial government officials vow to return on October 7 for the implementation of the governor’s order for the dismantling of the biosecurity facilities.

City of Mati temporarily bans swine, pork products

The City of Mati is temporarily banning entry of swine, pork, pork-related products, and pork by-products, be it edible or inedible, in the city.

The ban is in relation to Resolution No. 3 Series of 2019 issued by the Department of Agriculture Region XI requesting the Local Government Units (LGUs) for such.

The ban on the above-mentioned products are only for those coming from Luzon and other African Swine Fever affected areas.

The DA resolution also calls for the prohibition of swill feeding or the feeding of food scraps to swines as one measure to prevent the spread of ASF.

City of Mati Mayor Michelle Nakpil Rabat already directed the offices of the City Veterinarian Service, the City Agriculture, and the City Slaughterhouse to strictly enforce the order from the Regional Advisory Committee for Animal Disease Control and Emergency XI (RAC-ADCE XI).

As early as August 20, City VSO head Dr. Marites Linsag-Erispe have already coordinated with the local quarantine unit and the Philippine National Police for the strict implementation of quarantine measures especially on the entry and exit checkpoints. (CIO MATI)

Bong Go manifests support for Senate bill creating a separate facility for heinous crime convicts; gives DG Bantag full support to reform BuCor immediately

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go expressed his support for a Senate bill that proposes the establishment of a separate facility for prisoners of heinous crimes during the Senate regular session on Wednesday, September 25.
“The proliferation of heinous crimes has ignited the call for a tougher and more definitive stance against crimes,” Go said. He added, “I have always been steadfast in my position against any and all forms of criminality, especially heinous crimes.”
Go stressed his support for the measure, saying that it will ensure that convicts involved in heinous crimes will not be a threat to anyone while in prison and while the reinstatement of death penalty is still pending in Congress.
“It is the same reason that I am pushing for death penalty. In the absence of that, I support the proposal for a separate facility to ensure that they will not be a threat to society or to their fellow inmates and the prison guards,” said Go. 
“That convicts of these crimes are housed in a separate facility is pursuant to the State’s mandate to ensure and maintain the security of the public in general,” he added. 
Senate Bill (SB) No. 1055, or an An Act Establishing a Separate Facility for Prisoners Convicted of Heinous Crimes, provides for the creation of the maximum penal facilities in secured and remote locations to ensure that unwarranted outside contact will be prevented. These institutions will be built in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ) is tasked to determine the said locations.
According to the proposed measure, the facilities will also be equipped with state-of-the-art information and security systems, such as surveillance cameras, capable of round-the-clock monitoring of inmates. High security locks, doors and perimeters will also be installed in the proposed facilities.
Meanwhile, during a joint interview with new Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Gerald Bantag, who paid a courtesy call in the Senate, Go affirmed his support to Bantag as the new BuCor chief and reiterated to him President Rodrigo Duterte’s directives to reform the correctional facilities immediately. 
“Full support kami sa BuCor. Kung ano ang kailangan nilang pasilidad, kung ano ang pwedeng gawin sa loob ng Muntinlupa at iba pang penal colonies sa bansa, full support kami,” said Go.
“Sa katunayan, suportado ko ang panukalang batas (SB 1055) para sa mga pasilidad. Ikalat natin sila (inmates) sa buong bansa,” he added. 
Asked about his plans for the agency, Bantag reiterated his commitment to reform BuCor and put an end to the anomalies happening there with the help of other concerned government agencies. 
“Sana po maibigay ang coordination na kailangan natin sa ibang government agencies para malinis ang BuCor. Nandito naman po ang ating senador, ang ating President para umalalay sa atin,” said Bantag.
As for the situation of the drug lords, Bantag said, “nandiyan sila (sa loob), kalat kalat lang.”
Go interjected in jest, saying “’Yung mga drug lords, ‘wag na kayong mag-overstay diyan sa hospital, ‘di na kayo magigising.”
Asked if he has already met with BuCor officials, Bantag said that he already did, and that he warned them to stay away from corruption or suffer harsh consequences.
“Kinausap ko ang mga opisyal noong unang araw, nag-observe ako. Ang sabi ko sa kanila, ang magdala sa akin ng pera, ang kurakot, kakatayin ko,” Bantag said.
“Basta ang sabi ng ating mahal na Pangulo, mahal na senador, kung ako ay pumalpak ay ipapako ako sa krus kaya pagbubutihin ko,” he added.
Using his facial hair as a metaphor for the anomalies in the correctional facilities, Bantag said he will not shave it as long as corruption remains in BuCor.
“Sa totoo lang galing ako sa uniformed personnel. Kailangan talaga malinis. Kaso pangako ko sa sarili ko na hangga’t nandito ang balbas ko, hindi pa maayos ang BuCor,” Bantag said. 
The country’s correctional facilities have been embroiled in corruption scandals following the revelation of Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law controversy where more than 2,000 heinous crime convicts were erroneously released due to the wrong implementation of the law and the “hospital pass for sale” corruption scheme where inmates paid BuCor officials to get admitted in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) Hospital.