Bong Go visits Buguey and Santa Teresita, Cagayan

To bring hope and aid to communities hit by Typhoon Maring amid the ongoing pandemic



Senator Christopher “Bong” Go personally visited the ravaged parts of Buguey and Santa Teresita, Cagayan province on Monday, October 18, to give hope, comfort, and aid to the victims of Typhoon Maring.

In a speech during the activities, Go called on Filipinos to stand in unity, saying that the country is facing various converging crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters. He pledged his continued support for the province whose people are still recovering from other recent calamities.

“Uulitin ko lang po, mawalang galang na po sa inyong lahat. Huwag ho kayong magpasalamat sa amin. Kami po ang magpasalamat sa inyo dahil binigyan n’yo po kami ng pagkakataon na makapagserbisyo po sa inyo,” Go said.

He also assured the community that the government is doing everything it can to extend the appropriate assistance to expedite their recovery.

“Ngayon, hinding-hindi po namin sasayangin ito. Itong pagkakataon na ito na ibinigay n’yo po sa amin ni Pangulong Duterte – mga probinsyano lang po kami. Si Pangulong Duterte isa po siyang mayor sa Davao na ginawang presidente. Ako naman po, 23 years na nagtatrabaho po sa kanya bilang staff n’ya po at naging special assistant, naging secretary po sa kanya noong 2016, ginawa n’yo pong senador,” he explained.

“Wala na po kaming hihilingin pa sa Panginoon, ibinigay na po Niya lahat sa amin. Kaya ibabalik po namin sa inyo ‘yung serbisyo pong para sa inyo po. Magseserbisyo kami sa inyo,” he added further.

Go explained that despite his vice presidential bid, he remains focused on his duties as a senator and public servant, especially in assisting the government and the general public in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Huwag muna nating pag-usapan ‘yung pulitika. Alam mo, napakaaga pa po, wala pang campaign period. Maraming salamat po sa pag-endorso, Governor (Manuel Mamba). Maraming salamat pero ayaw ko munang pag-usapan ‘yung pulitika ngayon… dalawa ang tumama sa atin dito sa Cagayan. Gusto kong unahin muna natin malampasan ang pandemyang ito at iba pang krisis na ating hinaharap,” said Go.

“Noong naging senador po ako pangako ko po kahit saang sulok kayo ng Pilipinas pupuntahan ko po kayo. Ma-Batanes, ma-Apari hanggang Jolo pupuntahan ko po basta kaya lang po ng aking katawan at ng aking oras. Pangako namin ‘yan sa inyo ni Pangulong Duterte – walang masasayang na oras pagdating sa serbisyo,” he assured.
 
The senator and his team handed out meals, food packs, vitamins, masks, and face shields to 600 typhoon victims, with thousands more to be assisted in the coming days.

The activities were carried out in batches at the Buguey and Santa Teresita municipal gymnasiums in strict observance of the health and safety protocols against COVID-19.

They gave selected residents new pairs of shoes and bicycles so they can travel with ease despite the limited transportation options. They also gave some computer tablets so children can study under the blended learning set-up better.

As part of government’s response to the disaster, representatives from various national agencies extended other forms of aid. The Department of Social Welfare and Development provided each victim with financial assistance and, along with the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, separate food packs. The Department of Agriculture gave supplies of assorted vegetables, hybrid seeds and fertilizer to qualified farmers. It also turned over knapsack and power sprayers for livestock raisers, a cassava chipper machine, and recirculating rice dryer from Enhanced Kadiwa Program.

Moreover, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources provided bangus, crab, tilapia and other fingerlings and financial assistance for the construction of a tilapia hatchery.

On the other hand, the Department of Health offered free medical check-ups and handed out hygiene kits, vitamins, and masks. The Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Trade and Industry also conducted assessment of potential beneficiaries for their respective assistance programs.

The senator, who is Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, also reminded the public to keep taking precautions even if they are fully vaccinated.

“Tingnan niyo. Pababa na ang mga kaso sa Metro Manila kasi marami na ang bakunado. Nasa datos naman na ‘yung mga positibo ngayon, sila ay ‘yung hindi nagpabakuna, ‘yung nag-aantay at nagsasabi na mamaya na sila. Huwag niyo na antayin na kayo’y abutan at nakakamatay ang virus na ito,” warned Go.

“Ngayon, mayroon ng mahigit na 90 million doses ng bakuna ang dumating sa ating bansa. Mahigit 24 million na Pilipino na ang fully vaccinated. Tuloy-tuloy lang ang programang ito hanggang makamtan natin ang population protection leading to herd immunity,” he continued.

Go offered to help residents with injuries or illnesses and advised them to seek further medical assistance at the Malasakit Center at the Cagayan Valley Medical Center in Tuguegarao City.

The program was institutionalized through the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, which Go primarily authored and sponsored in the Senate. It currently has 143 operating centers, which have assisted some three million patients across the country to date.

“Kung kailangan niyo naman magpa-ospital sa Maynila, magsabi lang kayo. Hindi niyo na kailangang mag-alala dahil kami na po ang sasagot,” reassured Go.

The senator recognized various government officials for their quick response and hard work after the typhoon struck. They included Governor Mamba, Buguey Mayor Lloyd Antiporda and Vice Mayor Licerio Antiporda III, and Santa Teresita Mayor Rodrigo De Gracia and Vice Mayor Ruben Fagela.

As Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, Go supported numerous initiatives to enhance the development and improve the delivery of vital services in Cagayan such as the construction of various roads in Sta Teresita, Aparri, Amulung, Baggao, Calayan, Gonzaga, Iguig, Santa Ana, Enrile, Tuao, and Tuguegarao City; construction of a multi-purpose building in Sanchez-Mira; construction of a river control structure at the Zinundungan River; installation of streetlights in Camalaniugan; and upgrading of the CVMC.

He also committed to support the construction of the Peñablanca Super Health Center, Sta. Praxedes Super Health Center, and Sta. Teresita Super Health Center.

“Bukas ang aming opisina. Huwag kayong mag-atubiling lumapit sa amin at nandidito ang gobyernong nagmamasakit sa inyo. Tulungan niyo din si Pangulong Duterte sa mga huling buwan niya sa gobyerno. Wala siyang ibang hangarin kung hindi ang kabutihan ng bawat Pilipino at ang maiahon tayong lahat mula sa krisis na ito,” ended Go.

The senator then visited the CVMC where he also provided aid to 2,560 health workers and 700 patients while checking on the operations of the Malasakit Center there.

143rd Malasakit Center opens in Tangub City, Misamis Occidental

As Bong Go prioritizes providing accessible health services to Filipinos nationwide

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go continued his appeal to Filipinos to prioritize their health needs amid the ongoing health crisis as he witnessed the launch of the 143rd Malasakit Center at Doña Maria D. Tan Memorial Hospital in Tangub City, Misamis Occidental on Tuesday, October 12.

The Malasakit Center is the second center established in the province in addition to the Mayor Hilarion A. Ramiro Sr. Medical Center in Ozamiz City that was launched in January of last year. It is also the 37th in Mindanao region and the seventh in Northern Mindanao.

Go, who serves as Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, expressed his concern that Filipinos living in rural areas are often reluctant to get medical attention due to the cost it entails. He explained that the Malasakit Centers aim to address this concern.

“Nagsimula itong Malasakit Center nung nakita ko ‘yung problema diyan sa baba. Sa tagal kong nagtrabaho kay President Duterte, maraming lumalapit sa kaniya sa Davao City Hall, mga hindi residente sa Davao. Minsan taga Misamis, taga Zamboanga, pumupunta sa Davao dahil nandoon ang hospital,” Go lamented.

“Kaya sabi ko ilagay natin sa isang kwarto, tinest namin sa Cebu ni Sec. Michael Dino. Nilagyan namin ‘yung Malasakit, pinagtabi ‘yung PhilHealth, PCSO, DOH at DSWD… Effective naman dahil nakita natin na hindi na nila kailangang pumila at magpakahirap dayuhin ang iba’t ibang opisina. Iisang kwarto na lang sa loob mismo ng ospital,” he continued.

Principally authored and sponsored by Go and signed into law by President Duterte in 2019, Republic Act No. 11463 or the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019 mandates all hospitals administered and managed by the Department of Health, as well as the Philippine General Hospital in Manila, to establish Malasakit Centers that would address the need for an efficient integrated system for conveniently availing medical assistance programs from the government.

Other public hospitals may also establish their own Malasakit Centers provided they comply with the criteria set by the law to ensure sustainability of its operations.

The center is a one stop-shop which streamlines the process of acquiring aid from the concerned agencies, namely DOH, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. Its primary aim is to reduce a hospital bill to the lowest amount possible by covering various patient services and fees.

“Ngayon kung mayroon kayong pasyente na hindi kayang operahan dito, magsabi kayo dahil ako na ang sasalo sa Davao o Manila, sa Heart Center… operasyon o transplant na kailangan… tutulong po kami,” Go offered.

“’Wag na ninyong patagalin, ang importante ay makasalba man lamang tayo ng buhay ng kapwa tao. ‘Wag kayong mamroblema sa inyong babayaran dahil kami na ang bahala, pati pamasahe ninyo kami na ang tutulong sa pagpapaospital niyo,” he added.

Meanwhile, Go cited that through the joint efforts of the DOH and his office, Doña Maria D. Tan Memorial Hospital will be provided additional resources that would support and further improve its operations.

“Kung anuman ang maitutulong ko, sisikapin ko na makatulong sa inyong hospital. ‘Yung Dialysis Center ninyo, pagsisikapan ko para hindi niyo na kailangan magbiyahe. Hahanapan ko ng paraan. Ang importante, makatulong tayo sa mga kapatid natin na hindi na kailangan maghirap,” Go said.

He then lauded medical frontliners for their hard work and commitment to serve Filipinos during the ongoing national health crisis.

“Sa lahat ng frontliner dito sa ospital, maraming salamat sa inyong sakripisyo ngayong panahon. Palakpakan natin ang mga frontliners, kasali na dyan ang security, utility. Alam niyo, hindi ganun kadali ang magserbisyo lalo na sa laban natin sa COVID-19,” Go expressed.

Go reaffirmed that he will continue to push for initiatives that will further improve and enhance the capabilities of the country’s health care system.

“Huwag muna nating pag-usapan ang pulitika ngayon. Naghihirap ang ating mga kababayan, unahin sana natin na malampasan itong pandemya dahil baka wala na tayong pulitika na pag-uusapan ‘pag hindi natin ito malampasan,” Go said.

“Importante po sa akin, bigyan natin ng komportableng buhay ang mga kababayan natin, lalong lalo na po ‘yung mahihirap po at mga walang matakbuhan, ‘yun po ang importante para sa akin,” he continued.

Ending his speech, Go recognized various officials for their service, including Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino, Assistant Secretary Girlie Veloso, Representative Diego Ty, Governor Philip Tan, Vice Governor Aurora Virginia Almonte, Tangub City Mayor Jennifer Tan, Chief of Hospital Dr. Janice Castolo-Biete, Committee on Health of Sangguniang Panlalawigan Chair Tata Paylaga-Lim, and other local officials.

After the launch, Go’s team provided meals, masks, face shields, and vitamins to 70 patients and 270 frontliners. The DSWD, in turn, gave financial assistance to the indigent patients and 250 rank-and-file hospital employees.

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

“Marami na po tayong tinulungan na mga indigents dito… kung ano pa ang makatulong para sa inyo, tutulong po ako sa abot ng aking makakaya para po maiahon ang mga kababayan natin sa kahirapan dulot ng COVID-19,” Go reassured.

As Vice Chair of Senate Committee on Finance, Go supported the rehabilitation of Doña Maria D. Tan Memorial Hospital and the construction of multi-purpose buildings in Brgy. Lorenzo Tan and Governor Alfonso D. Tan College.

Following the event, Senator Go led two distribution activities for various sectoral groups conducted at Sinanduloy Cultural Center in Tangub City, and Medina Gymnasium in Ozamiz City.

On the same day, Go also checked on the Malasakit Center in Mayor Hilarion A. Ramiro Sr. Medical Center which was recently improved through RA 11563 that he sponsored in the Senate to increase its bed capacity from 500 to 1,000 beds. The measure was signed into law by President Duterte last June 24, 2021.

Mati mayor seeks re-election, brother gunning VM post

City of Mati Mayor Michelle Nakpil Rabat is seeking a second term as she filed her certificate of candidacy for the mayoral post on the first day of the filing of CoC on October 1.

Mayor Michelle was accompanied by her younger brother, Councilor Eric Rabat, who is running for the vice mayoral post.

Also filing their respective CoCs are incumbent City Councilors Xander Paul Alcantara, Kobe Capiña, Samuel Rodriguez, Dodo Miones, and Edwin Barrera. Also joining the Team MNR are former councilor Jimboy Dayanghirang and former vice mayor Noli Balugo.

Board Member Louie Rabat meanwhile filed his CoC before the provincial Comelec office on the same day and is running for congressman of the 2nd congressional district.

Expected to file their respective CoCs in the coming days are 1st District Rep. Corazon Malanyaon who will run for governor; and Gov. Nelson Dayanghirang who earlier declared that he will seek the 1st congressional district post.

Incumbent 2nd Dist. Rep. Mayo Almario still has not filed his CoC nor had he publicly expressed which elective position he would run for. Rumors are rife though that the congressman might run for mayor of the City of Mati while his son, incumbent Mati City Councilor Cheeno Almario would seek the congressional post.

Incumbent Vice Mayor Glenda Rabat-Gayta, who is on her last term as vice mayor, also has not publicly declared which position she is interested at. Gayta is the regional chairman of the People’s Champ Movement of Senator Manny Pacquiao who just filed his CoC for president on Friday.

Guns, drugs intercepted in Davao checkpoint

Spot Report: Apprehension of person for violation of RA 9165 and RA 905911.

OOA 250920 Sep 2021, Joint AFP-PNP Checkpoint Operations composed of one (1) squad of Lacson PB led by MAJ EFREN TONGYA-EN (INF) PA and personnel of PS10 led by PMAJ JAKE GOLES apprehended the following:

Michael John Burias Lantoria, 40 y/o, from 193 Max Suniel St, Carmen, Cagayan, Cagayan de Oro, and Sebastian S. Quiblat, 61 y/o, from Igpit, Opol, Misamis Oriental, both onboard a white Mitsubishi Estrada pick-up with plate number KAA 7618 traveling towards Calinan, Davao City.

  1. Intercepted from their possession were five (5) – [1 medium, 4 small)] heat sealed plastic sachets believed to be “shabu” weighing approximately 3 grams with estimated street value of Forty Eight Thousand Pesos (Php 48 ,000.00),
  2. one (1) 9mm pistol, one (1) 380 pistol with one (1) magazine and seven (7) rds ammunition and other drug paraphernalia. Upon thorough search of the vehicle, personnel of TF Davao with K-9 and PNP found atleast 42 pcs 9mm pistols, 18 pcs shotguns and assorted ammunitions under the name of Delphian Security Agency. The suspects did not possess Travel Authority/Permit to Transport the said FAs.
  3. Marking and inventory of the confiscated evidence was undertaken by PS10 personnel and witnessed by Kagawad Ricky Barbanida of Brgy Lacson and Mr. Alfred Taguran of Radio Rapido. The suspects are now in the custody of Calinan Police Station.
  4. For the information of the City Mayor and Head, PSSC.

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.”