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.

Bong Go vows to pursue PRRD’s commitment of long-lasting peace across the country

As they visit Marawi City to commemorate its 4th Liberation Anniversary


Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, together with President Rodrigo Duterte, honored the state security forces and the people of Marawi City for their sacrifice and courage as the nation commemorates the fourth anniversary of the liberation of Marawi from the Islamic State-linked terrorists who attacked the city in 2017.

On Saturday, October 16, President Duterte and Senator Go attended the commemoration activity held at Rizal Park in the Islamic City of Marawi in Lanao del Sur.

The senator reaffirmed that the government remains dedicated to sustaining President Duterte’s vision of long-lasting peace and development in the country.

“Importante sa amin ni Pangulong Duterte ang kapayapaan, lalo na sa Mindanao. Wala na po dapat na patayan. Sino ba namang gustong magpatayan Pilipino laban sa kapwa Pilipino? Masakit ‘yon,” said Go earlier.

“The government’s efforts in achieving sustainable peace and development across the country must be continuously pursued,” he added.

In his speech, President Duterte commended the Task Force Bangon Marawi for their service and sacrifice. He then assured that his administration will continue to exert all efforts to fully rehabilitate Marawi City and help the community build back better.

“The continued hard work of Task Force Bangon Marawi to accomplish the programs, projects, and activities under the Bangon Marawi Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Program is truly commendable,” Duterte said.

“By rebuilding the lives of the displaced — iyon ang pinakaimportante — families, restoring damaged properties, and revitalizing disrupted socio-economic activities, you have stayed true to your commitment as agents of progress and catalysts for real change,” he continued.

The President also lauded the rehabilitation team, local leaders, and other stakeholders for their efforts to rehabilitate the Grand Mosque of Marawi.

“This place holds a historical and cultural significance in the lives of the Maranaws. We rejoice as a nation as the Grand Mosque of Marawi brings hope anew for our Muslim brothers and sisters,” said Duterte.

He also witnessed the distribution of certificates of titles for permanent housing units to internally displaced person by the National Housing Authority and the turnover of PhP76-million assistance from the Cooperative Development Authority.

Go, as a member of Senate Special Committee on Marawi Rehabilitation, also asked for cooperation among community members for the continuous bayanihan efforts in ensuring that Marawi City remains supported even in the height of the pandemic.

Senator Go also highlighted that the government will continue its efforts to address threats of terrorism. He assured that efforts are being exerted in providing economic opportunities especially in regions in Mindanao to address poverty which becomes a root cause for conflicts.

“Talaga pong magulo noon. Pero nakita naman natin matapos maresolba ni dating Davao Mayor Duterte ang kriminalidad, naging mapayapa na ang lugar at malaki na ang pag-asenso ng negosyo at kabuhayan ng mga mamamayan,” Go previously said.

“Patuloy po akong magseserbisyo sa mga kapatid natin sa Mindanao upang tuluyang makamit ang inaasam na kapayapaan at kaunlaran hindi lamang para sa mga kababayan nating Muslim kundi para sa buong Pilipinas,” he continued.

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.

142nd Malasakit Center opens its doors in Valenzuela City

As part of Bong Go’s pursuit of improved access to quality health care in the country

On Thursday, October 7, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go personally attended the launch of the country’s 142nd Malasakit Center at Valenzuela Medical Center in Valenzuela City as part of his many efforts to improve health services and reduce health disparities in the country.

This is the second Malasakit Center in the city following the one in Valenzuela City Emergency Hospital which was launched in August of 2019. It is also the 27th Malasakit Center in Metro Manila, and the 77th in Luzon.

In his speech, Go, who also serves as the Chair of Senate Committee on Health and Demography, cited that after witnessing the struggles of low-income Filipinos to get quality health care, it pushed him to develop more health care policies that aim to improve access to medical care services.

“Ang Malasakit Center po ay batas na, isinulong ko noon kasama si Congressman Wes, Congressman Eric, Senator Win Gatchalian. Ang target po ng Malasakit Center zero balance para wala na po kayong babayaran sa inyong pagpapaospital. Para po ‘yan sa mga poor and indigent patients. Basta Pilipino ka, qualified ka po sa Malasakit Center,” Go explained.

“Sabi ko bakit natin pahirapan ‘yung Pilipino… eh sa totoo lang pera n’yo ‘yan. Pera n’yo ‘yan, inyo po ‘yan, dapat po ibalik sa inyo sa mabilis na serbisyo. Iyan po ang Malasakit Center, inyo po ‘yan,” Go continued.

The Malasakit Center brings together partnered agencies, including the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, to work hand in hand and ensure that medical assistance programs are more accessible to particularly poor and indigent patients.

Principally authored and sponsored by Go, the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019 mandates all DOH-run hospitals and the Philippine General Hospital to establish their own Malasakit Centers while other public hospitals may open their own provided they meet the standard criteria and can guarantee the sustainability of its operations.

In line with his hospital visits across the country, Go shared how he saw the challenges faced by many public hospitals which often lack the necessary resources and manpower to meet the needs of their patients. As he recently joined the race for the country’s second-highest post, Go committed that he will continue to push for measures that will enhance and improve hospital services all over the country.

“Hindi po ako titigil po sa mga programang makakabuti po sa ating mga kababayan, ipagpapatuloy ko po ang mga nasimulan,” Go emphasized.

“Tulad nitong Malasakit Center kung nakakatulong naman po sa mga kababayan natin, ipagpapatuloy natin,” he continued.

Senator Go conveyed his gratitude towards the hospital staff and other medical frontliners for their dedicated service to their community despite threats posed by the pandemic. On this note, the Senator, together with DOH, committed to help allocate necessary funds to further help improve the health services in Valenzuela Medical Center.

“Alam niyo, mga frontliners, hindi po nababayaran ng kahit ano man pong insentibo ang serbisyo ninyo ngayon. Kakaibang sakripisyo ang ginagawa ninyo at napakahirap po nitong labang ito,” Go expressed.

“Kaya sa mga frontliners, kaunting tiis lang po, habaan niyo po ang inyong mga pasensya, kayo po ang nakakaalam sa laban na ito, kumbaga sa sundalo, kayo ‘yung sinasabak sa giyera,” he added.

Go then appealed to the public to participate in the national vaccination program as he reiterated that vaccines against COVID-19 will not only boost their body’s defenses but will also help in the country’s return to normalcy.

Following the approval of President Rodrigo Duterte to open the vaccination roll-out to the general public, Go asked local leaders to work closely with the national government to ensure an efficient vaccination drive in their community.

“Huwag kayong maging kumpyansa kahit na bumababa ang kaso dahil po ‘yan siguro naging epektibo na po ‘yung pagpapabakuna. So ngayon po, mayroon na tayong 76% na po ng Pilipino ang bakunado, patungo na po tayo sa population protection at herd immunity. Pero huwag pa rin maging kumpyansa,” Go appealed,

“Antayin muna natin makamtan natin yung herd immunity, huwag ho natin sayangin ‘yung pinagpaguran natin na makamtan ngayon,” Go added.

After the launch, Go’s outreach team distributed grocery packs, meals, masks, face shields, and vitamins to 136 patients, and 830 frontliners. Some of them also received new pairs of shoes, bicycles, or computer tablets.

Furthermore, representatives from the Department of Social Welfare and Development gave financial assistance to the patients and 337 rank and file employees of Valenzuela Medical Center.

In an interview, Iris Flores, 37, mentioned that even if she is fully vaccinated, she struggles everyday knowing that her job as a utility worker in the hospital makes her more prone to the virus but she remains dedicated to sustain her family’s needs.

“Sir Senador Bong Go, talagang hindi n’yo pinapabayaan kaming lahat na mahihirap at mga nangangailangan ng tulong po sa inyo. Maraming, maraming po salamat po, Senador Bong Go, saka po kay Mr. President Duterte,” Flores expressed.

Meanwhile, Valenzuela Medical Center Chief Dr. Maria Estrella B. Litam appealed in her speech to continue focusing on primary health care to ensure that more of their constituents can access quality medical services.

“I hope we can finally see it rising with your help and with your endorsement. Kung sino man tayo at ano man tayo, alalahanin natin na we are all Filipinos and we are working for the Filipinos,” Litam expressed.

The ceremony was also attended by Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino, Office of the President Assistant Secretary Girlie Veloso, Undersecretaries Jonjie Gonzales and Debold Sinas, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III, Representatives Weslie “Wes” Gatchalian and Eric Martinez, Mayor Rexlon “Rex” Gatchalian, and many others.

Senator Go then proceeded to visit the Malasakit Center in Valenzuela City Emergency Hospital to monitor and personally check and assist to the needs of the center.

As Vice Chair of Senate Committee on Finance, Go extended his support in the acquisition of ambulance units, and the construction of a seven-storey Valenzuela Center for Academic Excellence in Brgy. Malinta to ensure the economic recovery of the community.

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.