Barangay officials who are at the forefront in the fight against illegal drugs and criminality deserve better benefits, former Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said Saturday.
“Barangay welfare, Magna Carta for barangay officials, isa po yan sa aking priority,” Go said in his message at the Anti-Drug Seminar of Municipal Anti-Drug Abuse Council (MADAC) for all barangay captains and councilors of the province of Rizal held at the Ynares Sports Complex.
Under the Magna Carta for barangay officials, Go said village officials will receive additional benefits and social protection.
Go also said he would look into the possibility of extending the term of current barangay officials for the continuity of the programs and projects and more time to come up with needed reforms in their respective barangays.
No other benefits
He noted that presently, they only receive honoraria but are not entitled to salary and other benefits such as hazard pay, transportation Allowance, personnel economic relief allowance, productivity incentive bonus, clothing allowance and 13th month pay.
Go also called for the lifting of the limit on the maximum number of barangay tanods per barangay, now presently fixed at 20, saying that barangays with bigger area or with higher crime incidence should be allowed to appoint additional tanods to help fight crime, illegal drugs and even corruption in their areas.
The former presidential aide lauded the officials of the province and recognized the importance of the seminar.
He said it would help build a unified front in the campaign against illegal drugs being carried out under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Earlier, Go proposed the institutionalization of Anti-Drug Abuse Councils in every local government unit through legislation, noting that at present such councils are existing by virtue of directives from the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
“Pag naisabatas na ito mabibigyan ng sariling pondo lahat ng mga ADAC ng mga LGU para mas maraming magawang hakbang laban sa ilegal na droga,” Go said.
Also included in Go’s program to fight drugs is the provision of additional funding for the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
Go told barangay officials that in running for the Senate, on top in his advocacy is to improve the delivery of health services in the country, including the increased bed capacity of public hospitals and the establishment of Malasakit Center in all the provinces and urban centers in the country.
A Malasakit Center makes it easier and faster for poor patients to avail of medical and financial assistance from the government by bringing together in one room key agencies such as DOH, DSWD, PCSO, and Philhealth.
“It’s a continuing program of the President at plano po nating magkaroon ng Malasakit Center dito sa probinsya ng Rizal,” Go said, noting that at present, there are already 23 Malasakit Centers in the country.
Also included in Go’s legislative agenda are programs for agriculture, education, housing, long-term sports development, localized peace talks, anti-corruption, fire protection and prevention, creation of a Department of OFW and improved benefits for senior citizens.
Go recalled that he has no plan to run for public office but President Rodrigo Duterte asked him to throw his hat in the political arena.
“Sabi niya: Bong tumakbo ka. At hindi ka magkakamali basta unahin mo ang Pilipino. Serve the Filipino first,” Go said, recalling the President’s directive.
He said he took the challenge, realizing it is a rare opportunity to continue his service to the people he began over 20 years ago as top aide of then Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
Go said he found strength and inspiration from a quote attributed to Stephen Grellet which says: “I shall pass this way but once. Any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being, let me do it now for I shall not pass this way again.”
He assured the people of Rizal province that he would remain as their bridge to President Duterte.
“Kami ni Pangulong Duterte, wala kaming ibang hangarin kundi kabutihan ng bawat Pilipino dahil mahal namin kayo,” Go said.