Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go today commended President Duterte for an ‘’inspiring’’ State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Go believes the President was able to clearly lay down measures against the COVID-19 pandemic in his speech, inasmuch as he was also able to address what many wanted to hear including the immediate needs of the people as with government’s continuing effort in fulfilling its promise of a “comfortable life for all.”
“[His] speech emphasized how important it is for Filipinos to stay united in the spirit of ‘Bayanihan’ and ‘Malasakit sa kapwa tao’ in order for us to achieve our goals and lead our country towards a ‘better normal’ and better quality of life despite the challenges that we are currently facing,” Go said.
He also commended the President’s disclosure of ongoing discussions with Chinese President Xi Jinping guaranteeing the country’s early access to the COVID-19 vaccine once it is available.
To support the ongoing effort, Go, who serves as chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography and vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, pledged to fight for the needed budget for the procurement and subsequent production of the vaccine.
In an interview at the Senate earlier in the day, Go shared that the government had allocated P1.5 billion as the country prepares to participate in the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility, an international initiative to fast track the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines and to guarantee their availability especially to poorer countries.
Go also lauded the decision of the President to not yet allow face-to-face classes until a vaccine for COVID-19 is available and until all risks of exposure to sickness are eliminated.
He stressed that the government must first and foremost protect human life above all else.
Go expressed concern that many Filipino children in poor and isolated communities still lack access to basic health services and remain highly vulnerable to preventable diseases.
Moreover, Go urged the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to accelerate efforts to provide universal and affordable internet access which would benefit the transition to E-governance, E-commerce and E-learning of various sectors.
Earlier in the day, Go filed a measure institutionalizing the transition of the government to e-governance in the digital age amid the current challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senate Bill 1738, or the E-Governance Act of 2020, mandates the government to establish an integrated, interconnected, and interoperable information and resource-sharing and communications network spanning the entirety of the national and local government, an internal records management information system, an information database, and digital portals for the delivery of public services.