Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go is optimistic that President Rodrigo Duterte’s fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 27, will bring the hope of a better future for Filipinos amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
Go said he is expecting the President to provide concrete plans and proposed legislative measures to strengthen the government’s efforts to overcome the ongoing crisis and steer the country toward socio-economic recovery.
“I am expecting that the President will focus his 5th SONA on measures to strengthen our fight against the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic; to address the needs of the people to overcome the hardships that the crisis has caused in everyone’s lives; and also to sustain the gains of the Duterte Administration’s promise of a comfortable life for all despite the challenges that we are facing,” he said in a statement.
“Our goal now is not only to adapt to the ‘new normal’ but to lead our country towards a ‘better normal’ and better quality of life,” he added.
As chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, Go is confident that primary importance will be placed on measures ramping up the healthcare system’s capacity at all levels.
“Aside from enhancing our overall capacity to test, trace and treat Covid-19 cases, I am hoping that he will also prioritize improving the capacities and capabilities of public hospitals, establishing mandatory quarantine facilities and evacuation centers, strengthening our health workforce, promoting the welfare and well-being of our medical front-liners, and preparing a national vaccine program for Covid-19,” Go said.
He expects to see more of health-related bills to be prioritized as both Houses of Congress are set to open their second regular session of the 18th Congress next week.
Go also said he expects the President will highlight the key economic responses to mitigate the human and economic impact of the pandemic.
“Kasama na dyan ang pagpapabuti ng mga (That include the improvement of) government assistance programs for the poor, livelihood opportunities for displaced workers, and stimulus programs to jumpstart the economy,” Go said.
Go said efficient, effective, and responsive government service delivery must be sustained despite the ordeal for citizens to continue to develop and for the businesses to help jumpstart the economy.
He said the government has initiated programs to ensure that learners continue their education, displaced workers to have jobs, including those overseas Filipino workers, and to continue government service without compromising the health and safety of the public.
Despite the challenges faced this year, Go said the Duterte administration will continue with projects and programs to fulfill its promise of a comfortable life for all Filipinos, like the “Build, Build, Build” program.
As the Duterte administration enters the latter part of its term, Go said the President remains determined in improving the lives of Filipinos by consistently pushing for development in all parts of the country and by continuously aiming to bring government services closer to the people.
“Due to the effects of the pandemic, our President has initiatives like the Balik Probinsya Program that would give new hope and a better life to Filipinos if they choose to live in the province,” he said in Filipino.
Other initiatives of the government are to stamp out the bureaucratic red tape, eliminate corruption, and promote E-governance, Go added.
Go also expressed his faith that the country will bounce back from this crisis with a deeper commitment to improving the lives of fellow Filipinos.
“We have gone a long way since President Duterte assumed office. Though there are still challenges we face every day, these shape our capacity to serve our fellowmen toward genuine change,” Go said.