Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said on Monday, March 23, that more government funds should be utilized for increased protection of the frontliners, particularly nurses, doctors, health workers as well as uniformed personnel, like the police and the military who continue to fulfill their duties despite the risks brought by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“Gamitin po natin ang pondong meron tayo para mabigyan ng proteksyon at alaga ang ating mga health workers, doctors, nurses at iba pang frontliners, tulad ng pulis at military,” Go appealed to his fellow Senators in his co-sponsorship speech at the special session of the Senate on Senate Bill (SB) No. 1418 or the proposed “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act”.
“Gamitin natin ang pondo para sa PPEs (personal protective equipment), hazard pay, at pagkain para sa kanila. Our frontliners chose to work and serve their country. This is the least we could do to help them,” Go added.
He explained that SB 1418, originally authored by Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senator Pia Cayetano, “aims to empower and give the government the flexibility it needs to address the present health emergency” and “seeks to grant authority to the President to do what may be deemed necessary in accordance with the law to fund measures to address and respond to the threats of COVID-19 and the economic impact that comes with it.”
The Senator recognized the essential roles of frontliners in the implementation of the community quarantine. “Maraming salamat po sa inyong serbisyo. We commend all our frontliners—health workers, doctors and nurses—who have sacrificed their lives to save their fellow Filipinos. Kayo ang mga bayani sa giyera na ito.”
“To the police and military, I commend you for your patience and hard work; and for always being ready to protect and serve our people. We are facing trying times, so please exercise maximum tolerance.
“And, of course, sa mga LGUs, governors, vice governors, mayors, vice mayors, barangay officials na nag-aasikaso sa kanilang mga constituents.”
Go emphasized that the priority now is to be able to provide immediate healthcare needs to solve the health problem and defeat the virus and, at the same time, to provide cash and food assistance to those who are affected the most in this crisis.
“Ito ang prayoridad na dapat maibigay kapag inimplementa ang batas na ito – provide immediate healthcare needs to solve the health problem and defeat the virus and, at the same time, to provide cash and food assistance to those who are affected the most in this crisis,” Go explained.
Go, in a separate statement, also urged the Department of Health to address immediate concerns of the health sector when it comes to much needed support from government in equipping and capacitating health institutions so they can be more responsive to the needs of constituents amid the growing threats of COVID-19.
“Para sa ating mga ahensiya ng gobyerno, lalo na ang DOH, hindi naman po nagkulang si Pangulo sa pagsiguro na may sapat tayo na pondo para mapangalagaan ang kalusugan ng mga Pilipino at maresolba ang krisis na ito,” Go said.
“Bigyan natin ng pansin ang mga reklamo ng ating frontliners – mga health workers, doctors at nurses. Pakinggan at tulungan natin sila dahil sila ang mas nakakaalam kung ano ang dapat gawin para matapos ang health emergency na hinaharap ng ating bansa,” Go added.
Go also explained further the need to prepare other health institutions outside Luzon to make sure they are capable of responding to the possible further spread of the virus.
“Siguraduhin natin na pati mga ospital sa pinaka-malalayong lugar ay magkaroon ng kapasidad na maalagaan ang komunidad nila. Huwag na po natin intayin na kumalat sa lugar nila ang virus. Ngayon palang, ihanda na natin sila. May mga lugar na hindi pa nakakapag-test ng mga posibleng may COVID-19 na sakit. Dapat makarating sa kanila ang mga supplies at test kits na kailangan para maagapan ang pagkalat ng virus. Bilisan natin at siguraduhin natin na handa hindi lang ang Luzon, kundi ang buong bansa,” Go explained.