Bong Go urges government to expedite release of special amelioration assistance as Budget Secretary confirms readied funds for additional “ayuda”

Senator and vice chair of the Senate Committee on Finance Christopher “Bong” Go urged the government to expedite the release of a new round of amelioration for poor Filipinos particularly those under Enhanced Community Quarantine in NCR, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.

“Nakikiusap muli ako sa national government na bilisan niyo na ang ayuda. Tulungan natin sa lalong madaling panahon ang ating mga kababayan upang makaraos sila sa hirap, lalo na ‘yung mga naninirahan sa NCR, Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite at Laguna na naka-ECQ,” Go said in a statement.

“Kung kaya’t anumang available na pondo na pwedeng gamitin ng gobyerno na pang-ayuda ay ibigay na natin. Ilatag na dapat ng mga ahensya, sa tulong din ng mga LGUs, ang mga mekanismo kung paano ito maipapamahagi sa bawat kwalipikadong pamamahay o indibidwal sa paraang maayos, mabilis, at walang bahid ng pulitika o korapsyon,” he added.

Go also disclosed during an interview on Monday, March 29, that the Department of Budget and Management has prepped two options for the new special amelioration assistance and shall be presented to the President for approval later today. Go said that the government is exploring the possibility of distributing per household or per individual.

“Importante po dito, habang kinukulong po natin ang ating mga kababayan ay dapat pong walang magutom, mayro’n po silang makain sa kanilang hapag-kainan dahil po pinilit natin silang manatili sa kanilang mga bahay, ay siguraduhin po nating mayro’n tayong maibigay na tulong sa kanila,” Go said.

According to Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado, they are initially targeting an estimated 22.9 million individual beneficiaries which correspond to the 80 percent low income population in “NCR plus” areas affected by the ECQ.

This is based on data provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development together with the National Economic Development Authority, according to Avisado.

“Dalawang options ang ibinigay ng DBM sa ating mahal na Pangulo. Napagusapan na sa IATF at ang ayuda ay ibibigay directly sa LGUs… Antayin na lang natin ang desisyon ng Pangulo,” said Go.

“Ang importante po dito ay may maibigay po na ayuda, may maibigay na tulong po, lalung-lalo na po sa mga mahihirap nating mga kababayan na talaga pong naghihirap po dahil dito sa Covid-19 na ito,” he added.

Go, earlier issued an appeal to the President, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Budget Secretary Avisado and other concerned agencies to distribute a new round of aid to ease the burden carried by families who have experienced hardships as a result of the pandemic.

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“Matagal na akong nananawagan na kung ano pang natitirang pondo na hanapin na para makatulong sa ating mga kababayang mahihirap lalo na ang mga ‘isang kahig, isang tuka’ at wala pong inaasahan kundi magtrabaho po araw-araw,” Go said.

“Tandaan natin na itong mga ito ay meron pong pamilya at mga anak po na pinapakain (at binubuhay),” he added.

During the interview, Go further cited that the government has available funds of around P23 billion that can be used for the assistance. This was later on confirmed by Sec. Avisado in his interview.

“Sa ilalim ng Republic Act 11494 o Bayanihan Act, mayroon pong kapangyarihan ang Pangulo to adopt measures to respond to the crisis brought by COVID-19. Mayroon na pong na-certify ang Bureau of Treasury dati na total of 155 billion pesos. Na-utilize na ang 122 billion pesos. Mayroon silang natitirang 33 billion pesos, out of which 10 billion pesos is set aside for the implementation… ito po yung GUIDE bill,” Go explained and was later on confirmed by Avisado.

“Meaning, mayro’n pa po silang nakitang about P23-B na puwedeng pagkunan po ng pondo for the new Social Amelioration Program. I think ang rekomendasyon nila ay in-kind po ito,” he added.

In an interview on the same day, Secretary Avisado confirmed that preparations have been in place for the distribution of such aid and are awaiting final approval of the President.

Avisado shared that DBM is ready to download the needed funds to local government units once approved by the President. The LGUs, in turn, shall be responsible for distributing the aid to the intended beneficiaries.

Go appealed to Filipinos for patience and cooperation, assuring them that the government is doing everything to ease their burden during these challenging times.

“Sumunod lang tayo sa gobyerno at magmalasakit tayo sa kapwa. I am appealing sa national government na yung ayuda po ay bilisan niyo na po. Huwag niyo na pong tagalan dahil nagaantay po ang ating mga kababayan para dyan… ayaw natin may magutom na kababayan natin so pakiusap lang po — sa lalong madaling panahon ay bigyan natin ng ayuda ang mga mahihirap,” he ended.

Bong Go continues to help Filipinos recovering from crisis situations

Sends aid to families displaced by Davao City fire incident

The Office of Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Thursday, March 25, extended additional aid to the residents of the Leon Garcia community in Agdao, Davao City after their houses were damaged during a fire which spread through the area late last year.

“Mga kababayan ko, huwag po tayong mag-alala dahil hindi kayo pababayaan ng gobyerno. Mag-cooperate lang tayo, magtulungan at magbayanihan. Malalampasan rin natin ang lahat ng pagsubok na ating hinaharap sa panahong ito,” Go said in a video message.

“Handa kami ni Presidente Rodrigo Duterte, Mayor Sara, Vice Mayor Baste, Congressman Paolo Duterte at Congressman Vincent Garcia na magserbisyo sa inyo sa abot ng aming makakaya,” he continued.

A total of 66 beneficiary families were given meals, food and medicine packs, vitamins, medical-grade masks, and face shields during an activity conducted by the Senator’s team at the Leon Garcia Sr. National High School.

Selected recipients were provided new shoes or bicycles. Others were given computer tablets to help their children participate in the classes being carried out under the blended learning approach.

As part of ongoing government efforts to deliver assistance to communities recovering from crisis situations, personnel from the National Housing Authority were also present to assess households in need of financial support to repair their damaged houses.

The Departments of Health, and Social Welfare and Development had previously distributed hygiene kits with medicines as well as cash assistance and food packs, respectively.

“Malaki ang aking pasasalamat dahil nakatanggap ako ng bicycle at ng iba’t iba pang assistance. Salamat talaga, Senator Bong, para sa tulong ninyo sa aming mga nasunugan!” said Cesar Agabon.

“Nagpapasalamat rin kami sa NHA dahil sa wakas makakapagpatayo na kami ng aming mga bahay! Maraming salamat rin kay Senador para sa dinala niyang tulong dito sa aming lugar,” added Amelita Malata.

As vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Public Order, Go committed to push for the enactment of a measure which will enhance the response capabilities of the Bureau of Fire Protection and help minimize the risk of similar accidents from reoccurring.

Senate Bill No. 1832, a bill he authored and co-sponsored, directs the BFP to implement a modernization program to facilitate the acquisition of new fire equipment, provision of specialized fire training, and hiring of more firefighters. It will also establish Fire Protection Services and rescue hotlines as well as mandate monthly fire prevention information drives in every local government unit.

SBN 1832 was passed on the third and final reading by the Senate last March 8.

“Kaya ko isinusulong ‘yung Fire Modernization [bill] para ma-modernize ang mga kagamitan ng ating mga bumbero. May information at education drives din ang nasabing bill kung saan tuturuan ang mga residente kung ano ang gagawin para makaiwas sa sunog,” explained Go.

“Bukod sa pagiging laging handa, dapat maging proactive rin tayo kung papaano maiiwasan ang mga ganitong insidente,” he added.

The Senator, as the Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, also encouraged everyone to prioritize their health while diligently following the government-issued protocols against COVID-19.

He offered to assist any beneficiary who cannot access medical care, and encouraged them to seek further aid from the government by visiting the Malasakit Center at the Southern Philippines Medical Center.

The center is a one-stop shop which provides patients quick access to the medical assistance programs offered by the DOH, DSWD, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

The Senator went on to express his gratitude to the local officials for their efforts to serve and support the needs of the affected residents. He specifically thanked Leon Garcia Punong Barangay Lita Empis; Kagawad Tommy Rica, Citiaco Jorolan, Rowena Balbes, and Arturo Yu; Sangguniang Kabataan Chair Arian Sagusara; and NHA Regional Manager Zenaida Cabiles.

“Huwag kayong magpasalamat sa amin ni Pangulo Duterte dahil trabaho namin ang magserbisyo sa inyo. Kami ang dapat magpasalamat dahil binigyan n’yo kami ng pagkakataon para manilbihan. Makakaasa kayo na hindi namin sasayangin ang pagkakataon na ito,” pledged Go.

The distribution activity was conducted in batches to comply with minimum health standards in order to avoid the spread of COVID-19. Necessary health protocols were also in place throughout the activity.

Bong Go urges gov’t to maximize available funds for the expanded social amelioration

Ensure seamless distribution prioritizing those in NCR plus

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go urged on Friday, March 26, concerned government agencies to maximize available funds for the proposed new social amelioration program as many Filipinos have been reported to experience hunger due to the continuing quarantine restrictions amid the pandemic.

“Nakausap ko po kahapon si Secretary (Carlos) Dominguez. Hindi ko po tinitigilan pati si Secretary (Wendel) Avisado, sabi ko maghanap kayo ng pagkukunan, kung maaari walisin n’yo kung ano ang pwedeng walisin,” Go said during a radio interview.

Go also stressed that the provision of additional “ayuda” should be expanded and must include all vulnerable sectors, including those who lost their jobs. He particularly emphasized that such assistance must be provided to those affected by stricter quarantine restrictions in “NCR plus” areas.

“‘Yung mga hindi nagagamit na pondo ay gamitin n’yo na lang po sa mga kababayan nating naghihirap. Kinukulong natin sila para hindi magkahawahan, halos kalahati lang nakakapagtrabaho at maraming nawalan ng kabuhayan,” he lamented.

“Dapat mabigyan ng ayuda ‘yung mga mahihirap talaga na nasa NCR plus na mga lugar kung saan mas istrikto ang mga patakaran dahil sa pagtaas ng bilang ng mga nagkakasakit doon,” he emphasized.

Go also reminded concerned agencies to avoid issues they experienced during the initial distribution of social amelioration last year.

“Ang pagbibigay ng SAP ay nagkaroon ng reklamo sa first round. Ilang porsyento lang sa isang munisipyo ang nakakatanggap,” he said.

“Dapat ngayon perpekto n’yo na po ‘yan. I-combine n’yo na po mga nakatanggap sa listahan na una at binalikan n’yo (noong second round). Importante, wala pong ma-miss out at hindi makatanggap para walang reklamo. Para lahat ng nagugutom ay matulungan,” he added.

Go, however, expressed his confidence that the Department of Social Welfare and Development will be able to do their job well in the distribution of assistance.

“Alam n’yo sa ayuda na ‘yan, alam na po ng DSWD ang kanilang trabaho. Wala na akong nakikitang rason na magkakandarapa sila sa distribusyon,” he said.

“Wala pong pulitika dito, ‘wag n’yo haluan ng pulitika, marami na po nasususpinde na mga kapitan na nagsasamantala,” he added.

Go said that while he welcomes the 10K Ayuda Bill proposed by Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, he suggested that the executive branch must also explore options that can already provide the needed aid while the proposed measure is still a pending legislation.

He suggested looking into available funds or savings that can be used without need of congressional action.

“Ako naman po, kung ano ang makakatulong, very much welcome po ‘yan, ‘yung proposal po ni Cong. Alan (Cayetano), very much welcome po ‘yan kaya lang po (habang) nasa recess (ang Kongreso) ngayon, di na makakaantay ang ating mga kababayan,” he said.

“Dapat kung anumang legal na paraan para makapag-allot agad… baka pwedeng i-consider nila. Ako naman, sa legislative, handa akong pag-usapan agad ito kung ano pang bill ang makakatulong, handa akong sumuporta,” he explained.

He, then, assured that he will continue to push for the additional assistance needed to address hunger and ensure that government does its part to ease the burden of Filipinos in distress.

“‘Wag kayo mag-alala, ‘di ako titigil sa kakakulit. Si Pangulong Duterte, concerned po sya, ayaw niya may magutom bagama’t bumaba na ang hunger (rate) ngayon at unemployment base po sa data,” Go said.

“Hindi po ito sapat, ‘di tayo makukuntento dito, nagkaroon tayo quarantine measure, marami po ang nawalan ng kabuhayan, pati mga OFWs nawalan ng trabaho, kaya dapat patuloy ang ating pagtulong sa mga tao,” he added.

Meanwhile, Go urged Filipinos to remain vigilant and continue cooperating with authorities in order to stop COVID-19 and overcome the crisis.

One million gov’t-procured jabs to arrive before end of March

Senator Bong Go emphasizes that gov’t must strictly implement vaccine rollout in accordance to the identified priority list

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go shared on Wednesday, March 24, that the one million CoronaVac jabs procured by the government from Sinovac are expected to arrive on Monday, March 29, as he stressed the importance of vaccination towards the country’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Hopefully, the first procurement of the Philippine government will arrive on the 29th of March and I heard it will be received by the President,” Go said during the turnover ceremony for the second batch of 400,000 CoronaVac vaccines donated by the Chinese government to the country held at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

According to vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr., in addition to the first 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines donated by China and the additional donation of 400,000 doses received today, one million more doses purchased by our government are expected to arrive soon from China.

Go earlier assured that there is no delay in the vaccine rollout as there will be more deliveries of vaccines from other sources by middle of this year, pursuant to our National Vaccine Roadmap.

“We are simply complying with the necessary processes, aligned with the agreed schedule, as negotiated with our international partners,” he previously said.

The arrival of the second batch of Sinovac vaccines donated by China, according to Go, is another major milestone in the government’s national vaccination program.

“This is another major milestone for us, especially since the supply of vaccine is very limited and we have to inoculate 1.7 million frontliners and we have to meet our target for this year in order to attain herd immunity,” Go said.

Go, then, emphasized that health workers need to be prioritized for the vaccines to “arm” and protect them against the virus while doing their job of containing the pandemic and protecting Filipinos’ health.

“Importante ‘yung mga health workers natin. Madami po akong nababalitaan na mayroong mga nauuna. Dapat muna nating protektahan ang ating mga health workers. We should arm them since sila po ang sinasabak natin dito sa giyerang ito, dapat armasan po natin ang ating mga health workers (sa pamamagitan ng bakuna),” Go said.

“Alam niyo mahirap magkasakit, hindi basta-basta ‘yung trabaho ng mga health workers natin. Ika nga sa giyera, sa military, isinabak natin sila sa giyera. Dapat armasan natin sila nang husto at ito po ‘yung bakuna. So sila ang dapat po mauna,” he added.

Go said that once 1.7 million health workers throughout the country have been vaccinated, the poor and vulnerable sectors, such as senior citizens and individuals with comorbidities, will be inoculated next to protect them from severe COVID-19 infection.

“Matapos natin (bakunahan) ‘yung 1.7 million, then susunod naman po ‘yung mga senior citizens, susunod naman po ‘yung may mga comorbidities dahil sila po ‘yung importanteng protektahan po natin,” assured Go.

Go emphasized that the vaccine rollout must be implemented in accordance to the identified priority list in order to achieve herd immunity and not to jeopardize the delivery of more vaccines.

“So, mga kapatid nating Pilipino, nakikiusap po ako sa inyo, sumunod po tayo. Kung sino po nasa priority list po ng vaccine rollout, sumunod lang po tayo. Aabot naman po tayo sa pinakababa at ang importante naman po dito ay lahat ng Pilipino (na dapat mabakunahan) ay mabakunahan at wala pong maiiwan dito sa ating vaccine rollout,” he added.

Go also asked Filipinos to strictly comply with health protocols and imposed guidelines to stop the spread of the virus and help in alleviating the burden on the public health care system. He mentioned that the country’s low case fatality rate should not be a reason for the public to become complacent about the pandemic.

“Nakikiusap po ako sa mga Pilipino, huwag ho kayong maging kumpiyansa sa ngayon. Alam niyo marami nang nagiging kumpiyansa, nagdidikit-dikit na mga tao kahit saan kami pumunta, nagkakadikit-dikit na ‘yung mga tao,” Go said.

“Hindi porket mababa ‘yung COVID-19 death rate ay maging kumpiyansa po tayo. Huwag natin hintayin na umabot pa po sa sitwasyon na bumagsak ang ating health care system, puno na ‘yung mga ospital at wala na po paglalagyan ng mga pasyente, pati quarantine facilities delikado pong magkulang ito. Diyan po lalo magkakahawaan dahil ‘yung ibang posibleng nagpositibo ay hindi na po maa-isolate,” he added.

Go urged the public to continue to cooperate with authorities, remain vigilant, and join in the bayanihan efforts against COVID-19.

“So huwag tayong maging kumpiyansa. Sa mga kapwa ko Pilipino, nakikiusap kami ni Pangulong Duterte sa inyo — disiplina po ang kailangan dito,” Go said.

“Pangalawa, huwag ho kayong matakot sa bakuna, matakot po kayo sa COVID-19. Ang tanging solusyon, ang tanging susi natin dito ay ang bakuna po para makabalik tayo sa normal nating pamumuhay,” he ended.

Bong Go appeals to the gov’t to provide additional social amelioration for poor Filipinos

I am appealing to President Rodrigo Duterte, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado, and other concerned national government agencies to provide additional assistance to poor Filipinos through an expanded Social Amelioration Program.

Let us work together to find the funds needed to further help our people, especially those whose lives and livelihoods are adversely affected by tighter restrictions which we imposed to stop the spread of COVID-19.

I am also urging the Department of Social Welfare and Development to determine how many of our kababayans nationwide should receive additional social amelioration, so we can have a clearer picture how much resources are needed to implement this program.

Hanapan natin ng paraan na mabigyan ng dagdag na ayuda ang lahat ng ating mga kababayang nangangailangan. Marami pong naghihirap ngayon. Karamihan ay nawalan ng trabaho o hirap ang kabuhayan at may mga pamilyang binubuhay kaya gawin natin ang lahat ng ating makakaya para pagaanin ang pasakit na dinadala nila. Hindi lang po sana ito sa NCR o sa katabing mga probinsya lamang. Buong Pilipinas po sana.

Naranasan na po natin ito noong nakaraang taon. Ayusin na natin agad kapag may mga nakikitang problema sa listahan ng mga benepisyaryo. Siguraduhin natin na magamit ang pondo nang tama, walang masayang, at maramdaman ng mga tao kahit sa malalayong lugar ang tulong mula sa gobyerno.

Let us work together to fill in the gaps as the needs of Filipino families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic continue to grow and evolve. Especially during these extremely challenging times, the government must do everything it can to ease the burden of our people.