Bong Go reiterates: “Count me out of 2022 election talks”; says PRRD determined to fight corruption

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go repeated his previous appeal to be counted out for a higher position in the upcoming national elections in 2022, but thanked all those who have expressed their support for him.

“Nagbigay na po ako ng statement ukol dito, I have reiterated many times, sabi ko, please count me out, please count me out muna. Kung maaari, ako na lang po ‘yung pinakahuli sa listahan ninyo,” said Go during his visit to fire victims in Quezon City on Tuesday, June 29.

The Senator said that he is currently focusing on helping the country cope and beat the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Gusto ko munang unahin itong krisis na ito na malampasan natin… let me repeat. I am not interested. ‘Yan rin po ang sinabi ko kanila Sec. Cusi at sa mga kasamahan ko sa partido. Ayaw ko munang pag-usapan ang pulitika,” Go stressed.

“Ang focus natin is paano po malampasan itong pandemyang ito. Bakuna muna bago ang pulitika. Baka wala na tayong pulitikang pag-uusapan kung hindi natin malampasan itong krisis na ito. Darating rin tayo diyan pagdating ng Oktubre.

“Sa ngayon po ang focus ko muna, nakatutok po ako sa pagseserbisyo sa ating mga kapwa Pilipino na naghihirap po sa ngayon. Priority ko po ang pagseserbisyo sa ating kapwa Pilipino. ‘Yun lang po ang focus ko ngayon, para malampasan muna natin itong pandemyang ito,” he added.

He, however, thanked everyone who has been urging him to seek a higher position. Go said that while he understands the challenges that go with the job, the Senator remained firm that he is not interested.

“Salamat po sa lahat ng tiwala, let me repeat. I am not interested. Alam ko po gaano kahirap ang trabaho ng isang Pangulo. Nasa tabi po ako ni Pangulo halos araw-araw noon. Napakahirap po ng trabaho ng isang Pangulo. Lalung-lalo na po ngayon nasa gitna tayo ng pandemya,” Go explained.

“Pagod na pagod na po ako, pagod na pagod na po kami ni Pangulong Duterte. Ngunit kayo po ang nagbibigay lakas sa amin para makapagserbisyo pa po at malampasan muna natin itong krisis na ito,” he added.

Meanwhile, after claims of fellow Senator Manny Pacquiao that corruption exacerbated under the Duterte Administration, Go said that the President will continue to go after corrupt officials and is determined to stamp corruption out of the government.

“Nakapagsalita naman po ang Pangulo at alam n’yo, kung (gaanong) galit po si Pangulong Duterte sa mga corrupt na opisyal. Ang gusto lang po mangyari ni Pangulong Duterte… ginagawa po ni Pangulong Duterte ang lahat ng kanyang makakaya para sugpuin po ang korapsyon,” said Go.

“Though hindi talaga totally pa rin po na-eliminate ‘yung corruption, pero sinisikap po ng ating mahal na Pangulo na mawala ang corruption,” he added.

President Duterte challenged Pacquiao in his most recent Talk to the People address to name corrupt government institutions and personnel that the latter was pertaining to. This is to verify the senator’s assertion that corruption is worsening despite the President’s efforts to remove unscrupulous public officials and employees.

“Kaya nagsalita lang po ang ating mahal na Pangulo na pangalanan po, in fairness, sa kanyang official family, sa kanyang administrasyon na hindi lang po maakusahan. Ang hinihingi lang naman po ni Pangulong Duterte ay katotohanan nga lang po. Magsabi kayo ng totoo, bukas naman po ang opisina ni Pangulong Duterte, alam n’yo naman po sinisibak n’ya talaga ang lahat ng corrupt sa gobyerno,” explained Go.

“Kahit na kasamahan niya noon pa, kahit na tumulong sa kanya noong kampanya, basta pumasok ka sa corruption, sibak ka talaga,” he added.

Go, then, mentioned that he knows Duterte very well and that he will never tolerate corruption under his watch.

“Kilala ko po si Pangulong Duterte at seryoso po ‘yung kanyang kampanya. Wala po siyang sinasanto. Kung may nakakalusot, tulungan n’yo po siya,” said Go.

“Kaya nga po pangalanan n’yo po kung sinuman po ‘yong totoong mga magnanakaw sa gobyerno dahil galit po si Pangulong Duterte sa mga corrupt,” he ended.

Bong Go thanks PRRD for enactment of 13 bills seeking to enhance health facilities and improve delivery of health services in various provinces

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, joined President Rodrigo Duterte at the Malacañang Palace on Thursday, June 24, as the latter signed 13 measures that will improve the capacity of various hospitals to provide quality care and services especially amid an ongoing global health crisis.

As committee chair, Go sponsored the bills in the Senate the previous month. During his sponsorship in the plenary, he stated, “hindi ako titigil na ipaglaban kung ano ang makakabuti sa ating mga kababayan, lalong-lalo na sa mga mahihirap nating mga kapatid. Kahit na anong hirap ang pagdaanan ko, basta kapakanan nila, ipaglalaban ko ito”.

The signed laws include measures that will establish new medical facilities, increase the bed capacities and upgrade the capabilities of select hospitals in various provinces throughout the country. They are:

  1. Republic Act (RA) No. 11559, otherwise known as An Act Increasing the Bed Capacity of the Naguilian District Hospital in the Municipality of Naguilan, Province of La Union;
  2. R.A. No. 11562 or An Act Increasing the Bed Capacity of the Rosario District Hospital in the Municipality of Rosario, Province of La Union;
  3. R.A. No. 11560 or An Act Increasing the Bed Capacity of the Sinait District Hospital in Sinait, Ilocos Sur;
  4. R.A. No. 11564 or An Act Establishing a General Hospital in the City of Bacolod, Province of Negros Occidental to be known as the Bacolod City General Hospital;
  5. R.A. No. 11563 or An Act Increasing the Bed Capacity of the Mayor Hilarion A. Ramiro Sr. Medical Center in the Province of Misamis Occidental;
  6. R.A. No. 11565 or An Act Converting the Medina Extension Hospital in the Municipality of Medina, Province of Misamis Oriental into a General Hospital to be known as the First Misamis Oriental General Hospital;
  7. R.A. No. 11566 or An Act Converting the Schistosomiasis Control and Research Hospital in Palo, Leyte into a General Hospital to be known as the Governor Benjamin T. Romualdez General Hospital and Schistosomiasis Center;
  8. R.A. No. 11567 or An Act Renaming the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center in the City of Tacloban, Province of Leyte into the Eastern Visayas Medical Center;
  9. R.A. No. 11568 or An Act Establishing a General Hospital in Barangay Lacaron, in the Municipality of Malita, Province of Davao Occidental to be known as the Davao Occidental General Hospital;
  10. R.A. No. 11558 or An Act Establishing a General Hospital in the Municipality of Rosales, Province of Pangasinan to be known as the Conrado F. Estrella Regional Medical and Trauma Center;
  11. R.A. No. 11561 or An Act Increasing the Bed Capacity of the East Avenue Medical Center in Brgy. Diliman, Quezon City;
  12. R.A. No. 11557 or An Act Establishing a 300-bed Capacity Tertiary Training and General Hospital in Barangay Mauway, City of Mandaluyong to be known as the Senate President Neptali A. Gonzales General Hospital; and
  13. R.A. No. 11556 or An Act Increasing the Bed Capacity of the lying-in clinic in the Municipality of Rizal, Province of Palawan.

In a speech delivered during the signing ceremony, President Duterte congratulated both Houses of Congress for the passage of the measures. He assured the medical community that his administration would continue to work with legislators and other stakeholders to address their concerns and equip them with their needs to fulfill their duty.

“Thirteen of these laws are health-related and are very crucial in strengthening the capacity of our health care system as we continue to overcome the current pandemic,” said Duterte.

“Indeed, the establishment of new (hospitals) would make quality medical services more accessible to our people, especially those in far-flung areas. Increasing the bed capacities of our existing public hospitals will likewise augment our inventory of hospital beds that we badly need as we deal with the pandemic,” the President continued.

During the ceremony, the President also signed other measures that Go supported, namely bills that seek to convert the Basilan State College into the Basilan State University, reapportion Bataan province into three legislative districts, and renew the franchise of the Baycomms Broadcasting Corporation which Go also co-sponsored.

Bong Go assures LGUs that national government will help them acquire sufficient vaccines

For their constituents to ensure more protection against COVID-19 in critical areas

As local government units exert efforts to acquire vaccines against COVID-19 for their constituents, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go assured them that the national government will provide the support necessary so that critical areas can be provided vaccines despite the limited global supply for COVID-19 doses.

“Marami na pong gustong mag-order ng bakuna na mga LGUs. Kaya lang ang problema po—supply. Ang may prayoridad po sa ngayon ay ‘yung mga… ay ‘yung national government. Eh kasi ang national government po ang pumipirma po doon sa Indemnification Agreement,” explained Go.

“So, sila po ‘yung nabibigyan ng priority dahil unang-una, halimbawa ‘yung sa COVAX Facility, mula po ‘yon sa WHO (World Health Organization) ay inuuna po ‘yung mga national government natin para ma-prioritize kaagad ‘yung mga nasa priority list – frontliners, senior citizens, persons with comorbidities, itong mga economic frontliners. So tuluy-tuloy po ‘yan,” he added.

Earlier this year, Go expressed his support for a Senate resolution allowing local government units to buy their own COVID-19 vaccines for their constituents. With the guidance of the national government, Go said that this should expedite the process of procuring sufficient supply of safe and effective vaccines for all Filipinos.

While the supplies of LGUs which procured their own doses are yet to arrive, Go urged them to utilize those provided by the national government and ensure that they are distributed efficiently in their respective localities.

“So, sa ngayon, nakikiusap po ako sa LGUs habang hindi pa po dumarating ang inyong supply, ay unahin n’yo po ang supply ng national at iturok kaagad… Pagdating turok kaagad, ayusin n’yo po ‘yung deployment,” said Go, urging these LGUs to strictly follow the priority list of the national vaccination program.

“Magtulungan po tayo. Hindi po kayang gawin ng national government lang ito. Nasa kamay po ng LGUs ‘yung pagdeploy ng bakuna, ‘yung priority list dapat masunod pa rin. Kung maaari po, suyurin n’yo po, puntahan n’yo ‘yung mga bahay ng mga kababayan natin, ‘yung mga senior citizens na takot pong lumabas. Puntahan n’yo po ang mga bahay doon n’yo po i-encourage na magpabakuna,” he said.

Go also urged the public, particularly individuals belonging to the priority groups, not to fear the vaccine and get inoculated.

“Sa mga senior citizens naman, nasa priority list naman kayo, magpabakuna na po kayo para makalabas po kayo. Habang hindi kayo bakunado, mas mahihirapan kayo, nakakulong kayo diyan sa inyong mga bahay. Kaya sa mga senior citizens na nasa priority list, please avail of the vaccines,” said Go.

“Huwag n’yo na pong ipagpaliban ang inyong karapatan na magpabakuna. Nasa inyo na po ang bola ngayon na dapat na ho kayong magpabakuna,” he added.

Go also said that President Rodrigo Duterte has already instructed the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases to immediately deploy vaccines to high risk areas amid reports of rising COVID-19 cases in some localities.

“Pinabigyan na po ng priority ni Pangulong Duterte ang mga probinsya. So, ibig sabihin nito, lahat po lalung-lalo na ‘yung medyo nasa critical stage, yung mga tumataas po ‘yung kaso… ay pinapa-priority ni Pangulo,” said Go.

Go also shared some updates regarding the national vaccination program. According to him, more than 8.4 million doses have been administered so far while the country has already received 14.2 million COVID-19 doses from various sources. An additional 11 million vaccines are expected to arrive in July.

“Ulitin ko, mga kababayan ko, magtiwala ho kayo sa bakuna. Huwag ho kayong matakot sa bakuna. Ang bakuna po ang solusyon o susi para unti-unti na tayong makabalik sa normal na pamumuhay at makamtan natin, maabot natin ang herd immunity,” said Go.

“Ang target po natin na herd immunity ngayong taon na ito. ‘Yun po ang importante, herd immunity – ibig sabihin hindi na po sana kumalat ‘yung sakit dahil nakamtan na natin ‘yung herd immunity. ‘Yun po ang pinakaimportante, around 70 million Filipinos must be inoculated o mabakunahan po para po ma-achieve natin ‘yung herd immunity para unti-unti na tayong makabalik sa normal nating pamumuhay,” he added.

118th Malasakit Center opens in Bukidnon

As Bong Go assures poor and indigent patients of convenient access to medical assistance for their health-related needs

In line with the Duterte Administration’s commitment to improving access to healthcare and the general well-being of the nation, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go personally attended the launch of the country’s 118th Malasakit Center at the Bukidnon Provincial Hospital in Maramag, Bukidnon on Wednesday, June 9.

This is the first hospital in the province to open a Malasakit Center. Other hospitals in neighboring provinces include the Northern Mindanao Medical Center and J.R. Borja General Hospital in Cagayan de Oro City; Mayor Hilarion A. Ramiro Sr. Medical Center in Ozamiz City; Kapatagan Provincial Hospital in Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte; Cotabato Provincial Hospital in Kidapawan City; and Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City.

In a speech delivered during the ceremony, Go assured poor and indigent patients that they may conveniently avail of the services of the center in order to access quality medical care.

“Mga kababayan, mayroon na tayong Malasakit Center sa Bukidnon. Isinulong ko ito sa Senado sa tulong ni Senator [Juan Miguel] Zubiri. Sabihan niyo ang mga kapitbahay niyo na mayro’n na kayong Malasakit Center na tutulong para wala na kayong babayaran sa inyong pagpapa-ospital,” began Go.

“Wala itong pinipili. Basta poor at indigent patient ka, qualified ka. Pera niyo ito na binabalik lang namin sa pamamagitan ng maayos na serbisyo,” he added.

The Malasakit Centers program was institutionalized under Republic Act No. 11463, also known as the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, which Go principally authored and sponsored in the Senate prior to President Rodrigo Duterte signing it into law on December 2, 2019.

The center is a one-stop shop for the government’s medical assistance programs. Its partner agencies include the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. The Malasakit Center covers laboratories, medicines, surgeries and other patient services and expenses.

“Sobrang saya namin sa ibinigay mo sa amin. Gusto kong malaman mo na parehas ang ating puso … (gusto nating) libre sa lahat ng tao, walang bayad,” said Governor Jose Maria Zubiri Jr.

“Mr. Senator, we are so happy. I feel like crying. Why are you so kind? The people out there, they’ve waited for you. With what you’ve told them, you already made a miracle out of this. You will never be forgotten in the province of Bukidnon. We never forget people who have a heart, especially for the poor and poorest among them all. Thank you very much,” the Governor added.

As the Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Go further vowed to pursue measures that will strengthen access to affordable quality health care and improve the delivery of services, especially in poor and remote areas.

He thanked Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri for supporting the recent passage of the 13 hospital bills in the Senate which seek to boost the capacities of various local health facilities.

“Alam ko ang sitwasyon sa mga ospital natin dahil pumupunta ako sa baba. Alam niyo ba na sa sobrang dami ng mga pasyente, minsan nakahilera na ang mga kama sa corridor tapos sa bawat kama may apat na pasyente? Paano gagaling ang tao kung ganyan ang kalagayan nila?” asked Go.

“Kaya sabi ko hindi ako titigil na ipaglaban sa Senado ang mga hospital bills na ito dahil para ‘to sa mga mahihirap. Sa panahon ngayon, malalaman mo na hindi talaga biro ang pagiging mahirap, na wala kang malalapitan. Hindi natin alam kung kailan matatapos ang pandemya kaya dapat maghanda at magdagdag na tayo ng mga bagong ospital, kama at equipment,” he said.

The Senator stressed the importance of a strong medical work force and urged all remaining unvaccinated medical frontliners to get inoculated. To ensure the stability of the health care system amid the pandemic, he explained that the government must vaccinate all priority groups in the order prescribed as soon as possible.

“Pakiusap namin, ‘wag na kayong mamili. The best vaccine is the one available in front of you. Magpabakuna na kayo para mas protektado ang inyong mga katawan. Target natin na ma-achieve ang herd immunity ngayong taon,” said Go.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Migz Zubiri, who is from Bukidnon, took this opportunity to seek Go’s support in acquiring more supplies of vaccines for the province.

“Mayroon request Kuya Bong ang mga kababayan natin dito, Kung maaari ay dagdagan ang mga bakuna para sa mga mamamayan sa Bukidnon. Alam ko mahal mo ang Bukidnon dahil magkapitbahay lang tayo,” said Zubiri.

”Yes sir. Sisiguraduhin natin ‘yan na madadagdagan… magrerequest po tayo (sa national government),” vowed Go in response.

Meanwhile, in support of their continued dedication to their duties amid the difficult situation, the Senator’s team distributed meals, food packs, vitamins, masks and face shields to a total of 462 medical frontliners after the ceremony.

Selected beneficiaries were also given bicycles for their commuting needs or new pairs of shoes so they can work comfortably. Others were provided computer tablets to help their children with their blended learning activities.

The DSWD also provided 249 rank-and-file hospital employees with financial assistance in a separate distribution. The same assistance was likewise extended to 88 indigent patients.

The Senator went on to thank various individuals for their tireless efforts to protect the health and well-being of Bukidnons. Among those present during the activity were Senator Zubiri, Assistant Secretary Girlie Veloso of the Office of President, Governor Zubiri Jr., and Chief of Hospital Dr. Edmundo Garcia.

He also acknowledged local leaders present such as Valencia City Mayor Azucena Huervas, Damulog Mayor Melino Buro, Don Carlos Mayor Ma. Victoria Pizarro, Kadingilan Mayor Jerry Canoy, Kalilangan Mayor Omaradji Pizarro, Libona Mayor Aurelio Lopez, Pangantucan Mayor Miguel Silva Jr., Quezon Mayor Pablo Lorenzo III, Talakag Mayor Vergito Factura, Brgy. North Poblacion Punong Barangay Val Auditor, and Brgy. South Poblacion Punong Barangay Tetet Galilea.

“Magkapitbahay lang naman tayo. Huwag kayong mag-alinlangan na lumapit sa amin ni Pangulong Duterte dahil trabaho namin ang magserbisyo sa inyo. Nagpapasalamat kami sa inyong lahat dahil binigyan niyo kami ng pagkakataon na magserbisyo sa ating bayan,” continued Go.

“Sa mga kababayan nating mahihirap, nandito kami para sa inyong lahat. Hindi kami mangangako na kaya namin gawin ang lahat, pero makakaasa kayo ng gagawin namin ang lahat sa abot ng aming makakaya para magserbisyo sa inyo,” he ended.

Over 2,000 marginalized workers receive cash aid

DAVAO CITY – More than 2,000 identified beneficiaries from the 54 barangays of the first district received the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) payout on June 4, Friday.

TUPAD is a community–based package of assistance that offers emergency service for displaced, underemployed and seasonal workers, for a minimum period of 10 days, not more than 30 days, depending on the nature of work.

First Congressional District Representative Paolo Duterte, together with the Department of Labor Employment (DOLE) 11, led the distribution of the payouts, which was sent to the beneficiaries through a money remittance last Friday.

Among the beneficiaries who claimed the cash assistance are 301 sidewalk vendors, 1,807 sari-sari store vendors, 154 barbeque vendors, and 113 vulcanizing shop workers, all residents of the first district. Each beneficiary recieved P6,000.

Rep. Duterte said that their office is prioritizing assistance to the marginalized workers and the frontliners as well, in response to the public health emergency brought about by the Covid pandemic. He added that his office will continue to support those who are in need.

The lawmaker also said that his staff is continuously going around the areas under his jurisdiction to check whether there are sectors who have yet to receive assistance from the government, as its programs are intended for disadvantaged members of the community.