Go optimistic Duterte's SONA will include concrete plans against pandemic

A member of the Senate majority bloc today expressed optimism that President Duterte’s fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday would bring hope of a better future despite the ongoing challenges brought out by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Senator Christopher Lawrence ‘’Bong’’ Go, a staunch ally of President Duterte, 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 towards socio-economic recovery in his SONA.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte chats with Senator Christopher “Bong” Go (REY BANIQUET/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“I am expecting that the President will focus his fifth 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.

“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 chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, Go said he is confident that primary importance would be placed on measures ramping up the country's healthcare system 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 frontliners, and preparing a national vaccine program for COVID-19 in anticipation of its availability to ensure that Filipinos can have access to it,” he added.

With this, Go said he expects to see more health-related bills prioritized with both Houses of Congress set to open their second regular session, next week.

Go, former Special Assistant to President Duterte, recently called for the development of a national vaccine program.

“Kapag dumating ang panahon na mayroon nang vaccine at gamot laban sa COVID-19, dapat handa tayo na mabigyan ang lahat ng Pilipinong nangangailangan nito, mahirap man o mayaman  (When the time comes that a vaccine and other medicines are made available against COVID-19, we should be ready to provide all Filipinos who need these, regardless whether they’re poor or rich),’’ he said.