For his dedication and passion for public service, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go was given the Golden Wheel Award by the Rotary International District 3780 during a ceremony held at Novotel Hotel in Quezon City.
Rotary International—a global humanitarian organization which aims “to advance goodwill and peace around the world”—confers the Golden Wheel Awards to outstanding individuals who best exemplify the Rotarian spirit of “Service Above Self” and the guiding principles of the Four-Way Test.
As the main awardee, Go delivered a speech during the event, saying that he has always been reluctant to receive awards because he is only doing his job as a public servant.
“Sa totoo lang, ayaw kong tumanggap ng award kasi ginagawa ko lang naman ang trabaho ko bilang (In fact, I don’t want to accept an award because I’m just doing my job as) public servant,” he said while expressing his gratitude to the organization for the award he has received.
Go, who served as aide to President Rodrigo Duterte for more than twenty years when the latter was still Davao City mayor, also recounted how the past few years have changed his life.
“From being a relatively unknown individual serving a city mayor, I was thrust into a position of serving the country’s most powerful leader and our beloved nation,” he said, adding that he now has greater responsibilities to fulfill as senator of the republic.
“I am not just the bridge that connects the Filipino people to the President. As a duly elected Senator, I also now serve as their voice in the Senate,” he said.
Go shared with the audience his plans and accomplishments during his first year as a lawmaker, including the progress of some of his priority measures in the upper house of the 18th Congress.
“Isa po sa mga pinakamahalagang polisiya na ito ay ang Malasakit Center (One of my best measures is this Malasakit Center),” he said.
The lawmaker from Mindanao said he worked hard for the passage of the bill which will help many Filipinos particularly the poor.
“After the lengthy hearings and deliberations in the Senate and the House of Representatives, the Malasakit Center Act of 2019—which I authored—is now a full-fledged law. It is also one of the first legislations to be approved by the 18th Congress,” he said.
Registered as Republic Act (RA) 11463, the new law provides for the establishment of Malasakit Centers in 73 hospitals that are run by the Department of Health (DOH) all over the country and in the Philippine General Hospital in Manila.
The center consolidates the medical and financial assistance that patients may apply for from four government agencies, namely, the DOH, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
Go also shared his other priority bills, including Senate Bill (SB) No. 206 which seeks to amend RA 8972 or the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000 to expand the discounts, benefits, exemptions and privileges that solo parents are entitled under the law.
“We know how hard it is to take care of children even with the help of our spouses, so imagine the immense difficulty and social stigma that solo parents must be facing every day,” he said. “I believe it is our duty to help them or else we will be setting them up for a future of failure and poverty.”
Citing the country’s vulnerability to natural disasters as manifested by the recent eruption of Taal volcano and the series of earthquakes that hit Mindanao late last year, Go said his proposed bills seek to reinforce the country’s disaster preparedness, management, and mitigation efforts.
“I have filed Senate Bill 205 or the ‘Disaster Resilience Act of 2019’ which proposes for the creation of a Department of Disaster Resilience or DDR,” he said.
Go said he envisions the proposed executive department to become “an empowered, highly specialized department with a clear unity of command and primarily responsible in ensuring safe, adaptive and disaster-resilient communities.”
He is also pushing for the passage of SB 1228 or the “Mandatory Evacuation Center Act” which mandates the establishment of safe, permanent and dedicated evacuation centers.
“If passed into law, this will require every city, province, and municipality to construct evacuation centers that will be equipped with basic necessities, such as emergency kits and medicine,” he said.
“Wakasan na natin ang kultura na kikilos lamang kapag nariyan na ang problema. Huwag na nating hintayin na magkaroon pa ng isang mapanirang sakuna bago natin tugunan ang pangangailangan nating ito (Let’s stop this kind of culture that will only act if there is a problem. Let’s not wait for disaster to happen before we act on the needs of our people),” he added.
In congruence with the government’s fight against corruption, illegal drugs and criminality, Go also said he filed a bill which seeks to re-impose capital punishment for certain heinous crimes involving dangerous drugs and plunder.
“This law will not only serve as an effective deterrent against would-be criminals; it will also establish that the Philippines is committed to building a better future for the majority of good, productive and law-abiding citizens,” he said.
Continue to serve
Go then assured the audience that he and President Rodrigo Duterte will continue to serve the welfare and interest of the people and the generations of Filipinos to come.
Amidst various criticisms thrown at them, Go reiterated that he will continue to stay behind the President.
“Gagawin namin ang lahat para sa ikabubuti ng bawat Pilipino. Kung ang mga sakripisyo at mga ipinaglalaban naming ito ang maging dahilan ng pagbagsak ng ating Pangulo, babagsak din po ako kasama niya (We will do our best for the good of every Filipino. If these sacrifices we are fighting for will put the President down, I will be with him),” Go said.
Go also vowed not to waste any opportunity to do good, particularly to those who are really in need of help.
“Minsan lang tayo dadaan sa mundong ito kung ano pong kabutihan o tulong ang ibibigay natin sa ating kapwa tao gawin na natin ngayon dahil hindi na po tayo babalik sa mundong ito (We only live once. Whatever good thing we can do, we have to do it now because will never go back on this earth),” he said.
He promised to use the opportunity given to him to serve as senator, calling all his fellow awardees and public servants to extend the public service the Filipinos are expecting from them. (PNA)