Bong Go visits South Cotabato to aid farmers in Tantangan town

While assuring struggling sectors of continued support from gov’t towards pandemic recovery

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go personally assisted a thousand farmers in Tantangan, South Cotabato on Saturday, November 6 as he continues to advocate for more programs and efforts to help underprivileged areas and communities deal with the global pandemic.

In his message to the farmers, he urged them to participate in the government’s national vaccination program to ensure that their families and communities are protected from the harmful effects of COVID-19.

“Alam kong mahirap ang panahon ngayon, marami ang apektado ng dahil dito sa pandemya. Mayroon lang kaming pakiusap ni Pangulong Duterte sa inyo, pakiusap lang makinig kayo, five minutes lang itong pakiusap ko sa inyo,” said Go.

“Magtiwala kayo sa bakuna, wala ng ibang solusyon sa ngayon kung hindi itong bakuna,” he added.

Go and his team strictly enforced safety and health protocols during the distribution activity where 1,000 beneficiaries received COVID-19 essentials such as meals, masks, face shields and vitamins from the senator.

Some farmers received new pairs of shoes and bicycles that would help them with their commutes given the limited access to public transportation. In addition, selected residents were given computer tablets to help their children engage better during their classes under the blended learning approach.

The senator recognized several government agencies for providing support for the beneficiaries and other affected sectors based on their existing assistance programs. He emphasized the need for more government initiatives to help struggling communities amid the global health crisis.

To help them start possible small business ventures, staff from the Department of Social Welfare and Development gave financial assistance while the Department of Agriculture distributed vegetable seeds.

Meanwhile, the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Labor and Employment, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority conducted assessments of potential beneficiaries for their respective assistance programs.

Go also advised those with health concerns to visit Dr. Jorge P. Royeca Hospital in General Santos City, the South Cotabato Provincial Hospital in Koronadal City or the Sultan Kudarat Provincial Hospital in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, where there are Malasakit Centers available to help them with their hospital bills.

The Malasakit Centers Act, principally authored and sponsored by Senator Go, mandates the establishment of Malasakit Centers in all Department of Health-run hospitals and the Philippine General Hospital to ensure that particularly poor and indigent patients can conveniently get medical assistance from existing programs of the Department of Health, DSWD, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

Go supported several government projects that will contribute to the continued growth of South Cotabato, such as the installation of solar-powered street lights in Koronadal City, construction of farm-to-market road in Surallah, and many more.

Concluding his message, the senator thanked several local government officials for spearheading the progression and development of their community amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Ngayon, kami ni Presidente Duterte ay handang magserbsiyo sa inyong lahat. Huwag kayong mahiyang lumapit sa amin dahil trabaho naman namin ‘yan ang magserbisyo sa inyo,” Go assured.

“Ang importante ngayon ay malampasan natin ang krisis ngayon. Kawawa ang mga Pilipino. Ako, nasasaktan ang puso ko kapag nakikita ko ang mga Pilipino na naghihirap. Pero huwag kayong mag-alala, ang gusto naming mangyari ngayon ni Pangulong Duterte ay unti-unti na tayong makabalik sa normal nating pamumuhay,” he ended.

After the activity, Go proceeded to General Santos City to aid 470 families who were affected by a fire incident on November 3.

148th Malasakit Center opens in Brooke’s Point, Palawan

As Bong Go vows to continue fighting for better access to health care particularly for indigent communities

In line with his commitment to fight for the health care needs of the Filipino people, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go attended the virtual launch of the country’s 148th Malasakit Center at the Southern Palawan Provincial Hospital in Brooke’s Point, Palawan on Thursday, November 4.

This is the seventh Malasakit Center in Region IV-B and the third in the province, after the Culion Sanitarium and General Hospital (CSGH) in Culion, which opened the previous day in a ceremony Go personally witnessed, and Ospital ng Palawan (ONP) in Puerto Princesa City.

“Congratulations sa Palawan at ito ang pangatlo niyong Malasakit Center. Nagbukas tayo noong 2018 sa siyudad ng Puerto Princesa at kahapon naman, pinuntahan ko at binuksan natin ‘yung pangalawang Malasakit Center sa CSGH,” Go said in a message delivered online.

The senator, who heads the Senate Committee on Health, hailed the opening of the new centers as an important step towards reducing healthcare access disparities across the province. He recognized the urgent need for better access to medical assistance, noting that many Filipinos cannot afford treatment due to the high out-of-pocket expenses, transportation costs, and other payments.

“Alam ko ang problema sa baba, ng mga mahihirap nating kababayan na walang matakbuhan. Alam ko na dahil sa lawak ng isla ng Palawan ay kinakailangan pang maglakbay ng mga pasyente para pumunta ng Puerto Princesa upang makapagpa-ospital at makahingi ng tulong mula sa gobyerno,” continued Go.

“Pero ngayon, mayroon na kayong Malasakit Center dito sa baba, mayroon rin kayo sa taas at sa gitna. May tatlong Malasakit Center na sa Palawan na handang tumulong sa ating mga kababayan,” he said.

To eliminate the barriers to health care access, Go had authored and sponsored the measure that became Republic Act No. 11463. The law institutionalized the Malasakit Centers as an ongoing part of the services provided in hospitals run by the Department of Health and the Philippine General Hospital.

The center is a one-stop shop which streamlines the provision of medical assistance programs of the government, aiming to help particularly the poor and indigent with burdensome hospital bills. Its partner agencies include the DOH, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

The said law also allows other public hospitals to open a Malasakit Center provided they can meet a set of criteria that would ensure sustainability of their operations.

“Sa mga pasyente, hindi niyo na kailangang lumabas para humingi ng tulong. Lapitan niyo lang ang Malasakit Center na ito at tutulungan kayo ng mga ahensya ng gobyerno para wala na kayong bababayaran sa ospital. Ngayon, kung may naiwan pa ding balanse, may iniwang dagdag pondo si Pangulong (Rodrigo) Duterte para wala nang dahilan para hindi maging zero balance ang billing ninyo,” reassured Go.

“Sa totoo lang, pera naman ng mga Pilipino ‘yan. Inyo ‘yan kaya karapatan niyo ‘yan. Ibinalik namin ito sa inyo pamamagitan ng mabilis at maaasahang serbisyo. Iyan po ang Malasakit Center,” he added.

On this note, the senator urged the hospital staff to ensure the proper use of the funds so they can provide their poorest patients the care and treatment they deserve. He reaffirmed his commitment to supporting their welfare by pushing for the passage of Senate Bill No. 2421, which he co-sponsored in the Senate and takes into consideration an earlier bill he authored.

The bill provides a COVID-19 Risk Allowance in lieu of the financial compensation granted under the Bayanihan 2. It specifically gives all health workers in “low risk areas” a monthly allowance of P3,000; those in “medium risk areas,” P6,000; and those in “high risk areas,” P9,000.

“Sa lahat ng mga doctors, nurses, medical technicians at mga utility workers ng ospital, maraming salamat sa inyong sakripisyo sa panahong ito. Hindi mababayaran ng anumang halaga ang inyong sakripisyo na ipinapamalas sa ating mga kababayan. Kaya naman ako po’y nandirito sa likod ninyo bilang Committee Chair on Health sa Senado para ipaglaban kayo anytime,” said Go.

He likewise reminded local residents to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible and to follow all health protocols to prevent the virus from spreading further and the health care system from getting overwhelmed.

Go lauded the national vaccination rollout program, which has administered some 61.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of November 3. A total of 28.2 million individuals are fully vaccinated while another 33.2 million have received their first dose. The average number of daily doses currently stands at 551,542.

“Magpabakuna na kayo para protektado kayo at maiiwasan niyo ang pagka-ospital ng dahil sa COVID-19. Malaking tulong ito para hindi mapuno ang mga ospital at maginhawaan ang ating mga frontliners. Magbayanihan, mag-cooperate at magmalasakit tayo sa ating kapwa Pilipino,” he ended.

The senator also took time to thank the individuals who supported the Malasakit Centers program and contributed to its continuing success. They included those in attendance, such as Acting Vice Mayor Rogelio Badua, Sofronio Española Mayor Marsito Acoy, Maasin Punong Barangay Domingo Bernas, Aribungos Punong Barangay Edgar Inso, Imulnod Punong Barangay Levi Adioc, Mainit Punong Barangay Novelin Aguilar, Tubtub Punong Barangay Julito Bodesa, and Chief of Hospital Dr. Amabel Labor.

After the launch, his team distributed meals, food packs, vitamins, masks and face shields to 175 health workers and 69 indigent patients. They also gave selected health workers new shoes and bicycles for commuting and provided others with computer tablets for their children to use for their education.

Moreover, the DSWD distributed financial assistance to indigent patients and 145 rank-and-file hospital employees, as part of a government effort to assist frontline hospital staff.

“Huwag kayong magpasalamat sa amin ni Pangulong Duterte. Kami ang magpasalamat dahil binigyan niyo kami ng pagkakataon para makapagsilbi sa ating bayan. Kaya hindi namin sasayangin ito. Ibabalik namin sa inyo ‘yung serbisyong totoo. Araw-araw, minu-minuto kaming magtratrabaho para makaahon tayo sa krisis na ito,” pledged Go.

The previous day, the senator also conducted a monitoring visit at the ONP during which his team provided relief to more health workers and indigent patients. He then distributed aid to 4,000 indigent residents in Culion, Busuanga, and Puerto Princesa City

In July 2020, Go was declared an “adopted son of Puerto Princesa” by the City Council in recognition of his efforts to assist residents impacted by previous calamities.

PRRD considering Senate run to continue helping and serving Filipinos — Bong Go

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go stated that President Rodrigo Duterte is still considering running for a Senate seat in 2022, assuring the public that if elected, the president will continue to prioritize their welfare by helping and serving more Filipinos in need.

“He is considering, pinag-aaralan niyang mabuti. Kung makakatulong ba sa bayan… he might. Kino-consider n’ya po ‘yung pagtakbo,” said Go in an interview on Tuesday, November 2.

According to Go, Duterte is examining a number of factors before deciding whether or not to run, including his party’s, PDP-Laban, senatorial slate. Duterte is open to run if it will help administration candidates win, said the senator.
 
“Siyempre tinitingnan din niya ‘yung slate ng administration ng PDP. Kung makakatulong siya na mas maraming mananalo sa part ng administration, iyon ang kino-consider,” said Go.

“And of course, ‘yung pagseserbisyo sa bayan bilang inyong Tatay Digong. Ito proven and tested na po ‘yung kanyang pagseserbisyo sa ating mga kababayan hindi lang sa salita kung ‘di sa gawa,” he added.

President Duterte is being urged by his ruling party, the PDP-Laban, to run for senator in the 2022 elections. Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, as party president, stated that attempts are being made to push Duterte to run for Senate next year.

Meanwhile, Go said that although President Duterte is more than qualified to be senate president if elected as senator, it is too early to discuss such possibilities especially since the Senate leadership is decided upon by a collegial body.
 
“Masyado pang maaga sigurong pag-usapan ‘yan dahil hindi naman natin alam kung sino ang mananalo, who will compose the majority. Kadalasan diyan ay pipiliin po ng majority. But, bilang former president ay napakalaking bagay ‘yon sa kanyang ah leadership ‘no, nanggaling sa pagka-presidente,” said Go.

“Siguro masasabi naman ni Pangulo na nabanggit niya kung ano ‘yung mga programa na makakatulong pa siya, na maipagpapatuloy ‘yung mga programa na magaganda na nakakabenepisyo naman sa mga kababayan natin ay isusulong niya rin po, dahil naging mambabatas na rin siya noon, naging congressman na rin po siya at naging presiding officer rin po siya ng… as vice mayor, twice sa Davao,” he added.

Go also confirmed that PDP-Laban officials would meet before November 15 to finalize their candidates for the forthcoming elections. He also stated that he has made up his mind on running for vice president.

“Yes. Parati namang nag-uusap ang PDP about that. Ako naman… sigurado na ‘ko. Kandidato na po ako at desidido na ‘ko diyan. Consistent naman ako, always po akong consistent kung ano po ‘yung sinabi ko. So, 100% dito na ko bilang kandidato as vice president,” said Go.
 
Meanwhile, Go assured that President Duterte will continue to work hard to promote and protect the welfare of the Filipino people.
 
“Sa mga kababayan natin, asahan n’yo po na kung sakaling magdesisyon po ang ating Pangulo na tumakbo bilang Senador, asahan n’yo po uunahin niya siyempre kung papaano siya makakatulong at makapagpatuloy na makapagserbisyo sa ating mga kababayan at paano niya maisusulongbat ipagpatuloy ‘yung mga programang naumpisahan na po niya na hindi pa po natatapos… gusto niya pong tapusin,” said Go adding that despite the upcoming election, their primordial concern now is overcoming the crisis.

“Importante po sa kanya ngayon is malampasan muna natin itong pandemya, itong krisis na ating kinakaharap, at makakatawid na po tayo sa ating normal na pamumuhay,” he ended.