Despite the Covid-19 pandemic and other crises faced by the country this year, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go continues to deliver on his promise to serve Filipinos through his legislative work in the Senate, and through his initiatives to help those in need wherever they are inside and outside the Philippines.
“Ginagawa ng gobyerno ang lahat para maiahon ang ating mga kababayan mula sa hirap na ating dinaranas. Magtiwala po tayo dahil kapakanan ninyo ang inuuna naming (The government is doing its best to help our countrymen get out of the hardships they are experiencing. Trust us that we will prioritize your welfare),” Go said.
“Ako naman po, patuloy lang ang aking serbisyo sa bawat Pilipino. Wala na akong hihingin pang iba, ibinigay na po ng Diyos sa akin ang pagkakataon na manilbihan sa bayan. Kaya ibabalik ko sa inyo ang serbisyo na dapat niyong makuha mula sa gobyernong palaging nagmamalasakit sa inyo (I will continue serving every Filipino. I could not ask for more, God gave a chance to serve the nation. So, I will give the services you deserve to get from the government that cares for you),” he added.
As Go explained, the Covid-19 pandemic forced the government and the people to adapt to new ways in accomplishing things. But on top of these, numerous Filipinos have been adversely affected also by various calamities that hit the country this year.
“Marahil sinusubok ng taong ito ang ating pananampalataya at katatagan (Perhaps this year tests our faith and resilience). Now, more than ever, unity and cooperation are necessary for us to overcome these challenges. Kaya patuloy lang po dapat tayong magtulungan at magbayanihan (We should continue helping each other),” Go said.
Throughout the year, Go and his team continues to provide aid to Filipinos in crisis situations on top of and in support of what government agencies have been providing.
“As I have said numerous times, I will not limit myself to serving as a Senator only. Bilang public servant, magseserbisyo po ako sa inyo kahit saan man kayo sa mundo para tugunan ang inyong mga suliranin, pakinggan ang inyong mga hinaing, at mag-iwan ng ngiti sa oras ng inyong pagdadalamhati (As public servant, I will continue to serve you wherever you are to help solve your problems, listen to your needs, and give you inspiration),” Go reiterated.
“Kahit anumang problema ang inyong hinaharap — nasunugan, tinamaan ng lindol, apektado ng pagputok ng bulkan, nabahaan, lahat ng klaseng krisis — handa akong tumulong at maserbisyo sa inyo sa abot ng aking makakaya (Whatever problems we face – fire, earthquakes, volcano eruption, floods, all kind of crises, I’m ready to serve you as long as I can),” he added.
On the legislative side, Go highlighted the results of his continuing work which included improving the quality of and access to healthcare services, and addressing the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn.
He authored or sponsored nine out of 14 Senate bills which were passed into law in the present 18th Congress.
One of his biggest legislative accomplishments is the passage of Republic Act No. 11463, otherwise known as the ‘Malasakit Centers Act’ that he authored in the Senate. The law directs the mandatory establishment of a Malasakit Center, a one-stop shop for medical assistance, in the Philippine General Hospital in Manila City and every hospital managed and administered by the Department of Health throughout the country.
Go also principally authored and pushed for the passage of RA 11462 which postpones the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections from May 2020 to December 2022. The postponement gave village officials more time to finish their programs and projects while saving valuable public funds.
Another priority measure he filed was RA 11466 or the ‘Salary Standardization Law 5’ which raises the salaries of all government employees, including public nurses and teachers, for 2020 to 2023.
Following the emergency declaration in the wake of the pandemic, Go co-authored and co-sponsored RA 11469 or the ‘Bayanihan to Heal as One Act’. This allowed the Executive Department to respond to the threat of Covid-19 with greater flexibility, effectiveness, resources and haste.
To ensure it can undertake all necessary actions, Go helped see to the passage of RA 11494 or the ‘Bayanihan to Recover as One Act’ as one of the Senate bicameral conferees on the measure.
The law gives government the response fund needed so it can carry out stimulus packages and recovery plans for struggling sectors, such as micro, small, and medium enterprises, tourism, transport and agriculture sectors, in order to help them cope with the impacts of the pandemic.
As the chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Go sponsored the passage of 11 bills which increased the bed capacity or upgraded the services of the following local hospitals: Bicol Medical Center in Naga City; Bicol Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Pamplona, Camarines Sur; the Cagayan Valley Medical Center in Tuguegarao City; Caraga Regional Hospital in Surigao City; Las Piñas General Hospital and Satellite Trauma Center in Las Piñas City; Malita District Hospital in Malita, Davao Occidental; Quirino Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City; Siargao District Hospital in Dapa, Surigao del Norte; Maria L. Eleazar District Hospital in Tagkawayan, Quezon; Talisay District Hospital in Talisay City, Cebu; and Western Visayas Medical Center in Iloilo City.
Go also authored RA 11470 or the ‘National Academy of Sports (NAS) Act’, seeking the establishment of the NAS in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac. The academy shall offer the student-athletes a quality education with an integrated special curriculum on sports.
He also co-authored RA 11476 which institutionalized Good Manners and Right Conduct and Values Education as core subjects in the K-12 curriculum in both public and private schools to improve the delivery of education in the years ahead.
In addition, Go co-authored or co-sponsored six other bills which were passed by both houses of Congress. These are Senate Bill No. 1318 or the ‘Organic Agriculture Act’ which promotes the practice of organic farming; SBN 1365 or the ‘Alternative Learning System Act’ which addresses the basic learning needs of out-of-school youth, adults and children in special extreme cases; and the SBN 1520 or ‘Doktor Para sa Bayan Act’ which institutionalizes a medical scholarship program for deserving and qualified medical students.
He also co-authored or co-sponsored SBN 1844 that gives the President the authority to expedite the processing and issuance of national and local licenses, permits, and certifications; SBN 1807 designating the month of October as ‘National Cooperative Month’; and SBN 1396 expediting the delivery of benefits to coconut farmers through the creation of a trust fund.
On top of these, Go continues to push for bills that would streamline functions and enhance the capabilities of government to respond to the needs of Filipinos especially amid the changing times.
Go filed SBN 1738 institutionalizing the transition of the government to e-governance, SBN 1949 establishing the Department of Overseas Filipinos, and SBN 205 establishing the Department of Disaster Resilience, among others.
“Sa pagpasok ng bagong taon, magkaisa po tayo para sa ikabubuti ng ating bansa at para maibigay sa bawat Pilipino ang mas komportableng buhay tulad ng naipangako ng ating mahal na Pangulo (As we enter new year, let’s unite for the good of our country and so that we can give to every Filipino a comfortable life as promised by our President),” Go said.