Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong’’ Go reiterated a whole-of-nation approach would further enhance response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Go, chairman of the Senate health and demography committee, said this during a virtual meeting yesterday with top government officials and representatives from the medical and business sector including officials from the Office of the Executive Secretary; Departments of Heath (DOH), Interior and Local Government (DILG), of Finance (DOF), National Defense (DND), and Trade and Industry (DTI); and heads of the National Task Force on COVID-19, among others.
Representatives from the Philippine Medical Association (PMA), Philippine College of Physicians (PCP), Philippine Academy of Family Physicians (PAFP), Makati Medical Center (MMC), Philippine General Hospital (PGH), Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Makati Business Club (MBC), Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (PECI), Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry, Inc. (FFCCCI), were also present at the meeting.
“Binibigyang-diin po namin ang inyong halaga, karanasan, at kaalaman sa laban na ito. Asahan ninyo po na laging handa ang pamahalaan ninyo para pakinggan ang inyong mga payo (We recognized your importance, experience and expertise in this fight. Rest-assured that your government is always ready to listen to your advices),” Go said in his opening message.
Go emphasized the government sees them as partners in this fight against the pandemic and is always open to suggestions from various subject-matter experts and sectoral leaders.
“We are here to hear your inputs and recommendations, let us contribute and continue to help each other. Both the government and the private sector must work together and do what we can to address and respond to the threats of COVID-19,” he stressed.
Go vowed personally to make sure that the medical community would have a voice in the government.
“Personally po, I am not an expert. Kinikilala namin na kayo ang mga eksperto sa inyong mga larangan. Kaya, gagawin ko ang lahat ng aking makakaya para bigyan kayo ng boses sa ating pambansang estratehiya para labanan ang COVID-19. Kaya andito po tayo ngayon para magtulungan (We recognized that you’re the experts in your field. Thus, I will do everything in order to give you the voice in our national strategy to fight the COVID-19. This is why we are here now in order for us to help each other),” he added.
Go acknowledged the contributions of the business sector and the medical community in promoting and protecting the welfare of fellow Filipinos.
“Una sa lahat, nagpapasalamat po ako sa ating mga frontliners—lalo na sa ating mga healthcare workers at medical community—sa serbisyo ninyo sa bayan sa panahon ng COVID-19. Walang katumbas ang sakripisyo ninyo para malampasan natin ang pandemyang ito (First of all, I am thankful to our frontliners—especially to our healthcare workers and the medical community—for your service to the nation during the COVID-19. You have sacrificed so much for us to overcome this pandemic) ,’’ he said.
“Ganun din sa business sector, salamat po sa pakikipagbayanihan at pakikipagtulungan sa gobyerno sa pagresponde dito sa pandemic na ito (We are also grateful to the business sector. Thank you for your cooperation and help for the government in responding to this pandemic) ,’’he stressed.
Go stressed that while the government is doing its best, it is able to improve its response to the crisis through the participation of these sectors.
“Every single day has been a learning experience for us in government. We strive to be better each day…But even as we try, we cannot do it alone. Thus, as we move forward, we need help to successfully assess what institutional practices we need to retain or change and to make long-lasting plans not only for our recovery but also for our sustainable future,” he said.
He said that both the legislative and executive branches are working together to enact measures that would help uplift the lives of affected Filipinos and protect the welfare of frontliners, especially healthcare workers.
“Now that the Bayanihan Act 1 has been completed, we are now looking into Bayanihan Act 2…Now, I am pushing for stipend and additional benefits for healthcare workers to be included in the Bayanihan 2,” he said, adding that he is constantly looking for ways to help Filipinos recover from the adverse effects of the pandemic.