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.

Dumper partylist rep finally speaks up

First, I would like to acknowledge all of the sentiments asserted by everyone. I hear you, and I have internalized all of the grievances that were brought up in light of what was supposed to be a private and personal milestone. Although given the situation, I would also like to express my sadness over how my wedding day, something that I have separated from my work as a public official, has been made into a political spectacle. My husband has been planning this special day with me for years even before the pandemic, and it pains us to see how things after our wedding turned out. This was supposed to be the culminating event of a decades-long love story. My husband is a kind and loving person and all he wanted was to give me the wedding of my dreams. We both found many of the comments heartbreaking. This celebration of our love was a product of my husband’s hard work.

I have dedicated most of my life to public service, but I was hoping to have this experience in private with my husband, the same way that most people who marry the love of their lives do. We had no intention of making our wedding a public affair, so we kept it as intimate as possible. However, access was unintentionally given through the post of my wedding gown designer, Michael Cinco and he mistakenly posted about the private event.

He has since, also apologized for bringing unwanted attention to an event that was supposed to be separate from my life as a public servant.

Working for a public office, I have always valued the integrity of my work. I have always preferred to act silently and let my actions speak for themselves. I know that I have been doing everything in my capacity to get our sector through this pandemic and I understand that there are still some issues and concerns that have yet to be fixed. I assure everyone that we have never taken our eyes off of these concerns. People have been questioning my public service record when in reality, during the pandemic, we were able to help vaccinate 18,000 PUV drivers, we provided assistance through DSWD, DOLE-TUPAD, and DOH all around the country, we advocated for the immediate release of financial assistance for PUV drivers by filing a House Resolution and worked to ensure that the deadline for consolidation of PUVs is extended.

To address the effects of the pandemic, in my personal capacity, I also made sure that more than 1.1 million grocery packs, PPEs, free insurance policies, and relief assistance are distributed to affected PUV drivers and commuters. From my personal funds, I have donated P3 million to doctors and nurses to ensure that their tireless sacrifice is recognized.

Moving forward, I want to move past this issue and focus on pressing matters – the pandemic and serving better my constituents.

I will no longer indulge in the statements by people of influence against me as I will leave it up to my legal team to address this.

As a public servant, I have always been transparent with my office’s accomplishments and ongoing efforts, and we will continue to do so despite detractors aiming to change the narrative and devalue our achievements.

Kaysa magsiraan tayo, ilaan natin ang enerhiyang meron tayo bilang isang komunidad sa pag-ahon mula sa pandemyang ito.

Maraming salamat po at mag-ingat po tayong lahat. May God bless us all.

Bong Go continues push for better health access especially in far-flung areas as 135th Malasakit Center opens in Basilan

Chopper accident during arrival

During the launch of the country’s 135th Malasakit Center at the Basilan General Hospital (BGH) in Isabela City, Basilan on Saturday, August 14, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go reaffirmed the Duterte administration’s commitment to improve access to quality, affordable health care especially in far-flung and underserved communities.

This is the first Malasakit Center in the province of Basilan and seventh in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, after the Maguindanao Provincial Hospital and Cotabato Sanitarium in Maguindanao; Sulu Provincial Hospital in Jolo; Datu Halun Sakilan Memorial Hospital in Tawi-Tawi; Pakpak Medical Center in Marawi City; and Cotabato Regional and Medical Center in Cotabato City.

“Kumpleto na po ang Malasakit Centers sa ZamBaSulTa. Mula sa araw na ito, may dalawa na sa Zamboanga City. Mayroon din sa Jolo at Tawi-Tawi na personal kong dinaluhan. Ngayon, nandito ako para itupad ang ipinangako ko kay Governor (Hadjiman Hataman-Salliman) at sa mga tao ng Basilan,” said Go.

Isabela City is administratively part of Zamboanga Peninsula Region while the rest of the island province is under the BARMM.

Go personally attended the launch of another Malasakit center later that day at the Labuan General Hospital in Zamboanga City where he also extended aid to local market vendors and transport workers. This marks the 136th Malasakit Center nationwide.

In his speech in Basilan, the Senator first extended his congratulations to the BGH on the inauguration of their new main building held that morning. He thanked them for their dedication in the frontlines as the nation battles the COVID-19 pandemic.

He pointed out that many public hospitals are treating a disproportionate share of low-income patients, and expressed hope that the new Malasakit center would allow the BGH to provide more care in their community, particularly to the indigent and other groups who cannot afford medical services.

“Ito ang pinakaunang batas na isinulong ko nang naging senador ako nung 2019. Ang Malasakit Center ay para sa mga poor at indigent patients. Wala itong pinipili. Karapatan niyo bilang Pilipino ang maka-avail ng serbisyo nito,” he continued.

The Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop which streamlines the provision of medical assistance by bringing the relevant government agencies under one roof, namely the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

The center’s primary aim is to help reduce a patients’ hospital bill to the lowest possible amount by covering various patient services and expenses through the existing medical assistance programs which are now accessible in a one-stop shop. Go authored and sponsored the bill that became Republic Act No. 11463, also known as the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019.

“Huwag kayong mag-alala. Magsabi lang kayo kung may kailangan kayo. Nandito kami ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte, handang makinig at tumulong. Sanay akong makipaglaban sa Senado… ‘di ako titigil na ipaglaban ang kapakanan niyo, lalung-lalo na ang mga mahihirap,” said Go.

As Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, he reassured that he is focused on making sure that the funding for hospitals and health workers will be sufficiently provided and spent as intended. Go vowed to continue to push for additional funds and support policies that will ensure local health systems and health workers have the resources they need to deliver life-saving care to their communities.

“Hindi nila alam kung anong nangyayari dahil hindi naman sila bumababa sa mga mahihirap. Ako, alam ko ang mga problema. Ba’t hindi ko ipaglalaban ang mga ospital eh umaabot ng 400 percent ang occupancy rate! Paano gagaling ang mga pasyente kung ganyan ang sitwasyon? Ngayon na nasa pandemya tayo, we should invest more in our healthcare,” he stressed.

The Senator also promised to work with members of Congress to push for the upgrading and conversion of the BGH into a medical center. He likewise pledged to reach out to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases and personally request for additional vaccine supplies as well as further assistance so the province can improve its COVID-19 response and prevention capabilities.

In the end, Go reminded all eligible residents of the province to get vaccinated so they can reduce their risk of developing severe symptoms and being hospitalized. He further warned that a significant majority of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are from the unvaccinated population.

“Mga kapatid ko, may isa nalang kaming pakiusap ni Pangulong Duterte sa inyo. May 42 million vaccines na ang dumating sa bansa kaya magpabakuna kayo kung nasa priority list kayo. Ayon sa pag-aaral, out of 11 million na nabakunahan, wala pang 1,000 ang nagkasakit ng COVID-19. Nasa mga numero na epektibo ang mga bakuna,” said Go.

“Siyempre, kailangan pa din ang disiplina at kooperasyon ng bawat isa. Huwag maging kumpiyansa para hindi kayo magaya sa Maynila. Maganda na ang momentum pero dahil dumating ang Delta variant ay nagsara ulit sila. Kaya ‘wag kayo matakot sa bakuna. Matakot kayo sa COVID-19 dahil nakakamatay ito,” he appealed.

Following the ceremony, the Senator’s team distributed meals, food packs, vitamins, masks and face shields to a total of 487 frontline medical workers and 48 indigent patients.

Go’s team provided select medical frontliners new pairs of shoes while others were given bicycles. Some also received computer tablets which their children can use for their education.

In addition, the DSWD distributed financial assistance to indigent patients and 297 rank-and-file hospital employees, including janitors and security guards.

Go expressed his gratitude to the many individuals who worked together to provide the people of Basilan with better healthcare services. He specifically thanked Deputy Speaker and Representative Mujiv Hataman, Governor Hataman-Salliman, Vice Governor Yusop Alano, Mayor Sitti Hataman and Vice Mayor Jhul Salliman.

As Vice Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, he supported the funding for the construction of a drainage canal in Barangay Tabuk, footbridge in Barangay Panigayan, and multi-purpose halls in Barangays Lanote and Cabun Bata in Isabela City.

Go also supported other infrastructure initiatives throughout the province, including the improvement of a children’s park in Mohammad Ajul and public parks in Akbar and Tipo-Tipo; construction of multi-purpose halls in Lamitan and Mohammad Ajul; construction of a water system in Tabuan Lasa; construction of a seawall in Hadji Muhtamad; rehabilitation of the evacuation center in Sumisip; rehabilitation of the public market in Maluso; and concreting of existing roads in Al-Barka, among others.

Escaped cult leader surrenders, along with 21 others

The leader of a religious group Pinatikan that escaped from the Davao Oriental Provincial Jail on August 14 has surrendered to the military three days after the daring escape.

Reports showed that Cornelio Galon III, along with 21 others, surrendered to the Philippine Army’s 701st Brigade thru the Calapagan Cafgu detachment around two in the afternoon of August 17.

A Cafgu personnel assigned in the Calapagan detachment is said to be related to one of the surrenders.

In its Facebook page post, the Davao Oriental Provincial Government said that five of the surrenderers are inmates while 17 were involved in the attack of the provincial jail.

The surrenderers were presented to Governor Nelson Dayanghirang.

Galon, along with six other inmates escaped when more than 20 members of Galon’s religious group called the DIVINE SPIRITUAL GOVERNANCE OF GOD AND HEAVEN INC. attacked the provincial jail. One of the attackers was killed while another one was arrested Monday.