Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Tuesday reiterated his commitment to work with his colleagues in the 24-member Senate for the speedy passage of the identified priority measures, especially those certified as urgent by President Duterte as the Senate and the House of Representatives are scheduled to resume regular session on January 18.
“Sa patuloy na paglilibot ko kahit saan mang lugar, naging malinaw sa akin kung ano ang tunay na mga hinaing ng mga Pilipino. Ang mga isinumiteng panukala ay naglalayon na matugunan ang mga pang araw-araw na pangangailangan ng mga Pilipino at maibigay ang serbisyong dapat nila matanggap mula sa gobyernong nagmamalasakit sa kanilang kalagayan,’’ he said. (During my trips around the country, I came to understand the real concerns of the Filipinos. The submitted proposed legislations were designed to address the day-to-day needs of the Filipinos and seek to provide the services that they deserve from the government that cares for their condition.)
Last December 28, Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III revealed a list of 20 priority measures based on a common legislative agenda identified by both Houses of Congress.
Eight of the identified measures were filed by Go, including a proposal to establish a Department of Overseas Filipinos. He filed Senate Bill (SB) 1949 on December 14, 2020 which the President later certified as urgent.
The bill seeks to improve the delivery of government services and programs to Filipinos overseas by bringing together all government functions related to overseas employment and migration under one agency.
The proposed measure also enhances the One Country-Team approach by directing all officers, representatives, and personnel of the Philippine government posted abroad, regardless of their mother agencies, to act as one country-team under the leadership of the Ambassador or the Consul General.
Additionally, the Senate will be prioritizing deliberations on the reimposition of the death penalty.
Go filed SB 207 in 2019 which reinstates the capital punishment for heinous crimes related to illegal drugs and plunder.
Also included in the priority list is SB 1738, or the E-Governance Act. This bill by Go improves the delivery of public services by reducing the red tape that plagues the national and local government units (LGUs) and, in turn, hinders the ability of small businesses to grow and create jobs.
It mandates the creation of the Integrated Government Network which will act as the primary means for sharing and communicating data and information across the government as well as digital portals for delivering public services.
To complement the E-Governance Act, the Senator co-authored SB 1591, otherwise known as the Internet Transactions Act, in 2020 with an aim to develop the e-commerce sector’s potential for employment and economic growth by helping small businesses engaging in digital trade.
Also one of the measures to be prioritized is the Military and Uniformed Personnel Services Separation, Retirement and Pension Act, a version of which Go filed in 2020.
SB 1419 addresses the concerns of the current pension and retirement pay for men and women in uniform.
SB 1451 was introduced in the same year. It seeks to establish a Medical Reserve Corps composed of individuals who have degrees in health-related fields but have yet to obtain professional licenses to help in the country’s response during times of emergencies.
Meanwhile, Go sought to provide accessible housing services for the poor by filing SBN 203, otherwise known as the National Housing Development, Production and Financing Act, in 2019 which creates a strong affordable housing finance system and mobilizes funds to increase low-cost housing production.
Finally, Go introduced SB 1411, or the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act, to amend Republic Act No. 8972, known as the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000.
The bill eases the burden of some 14 million solo parents by providing them with additional benefits and privileges, such as special discounts, tax amnesty or reduction in real estate or inheritance taxes, and basic personal exemption from individual income tax in the amount of P 50,000 in addition to the existing exemption that the solo parent may claim for their children.
In addition to pushing for these priority measures identified by the Senate and also mentioned by President Duterte in his previous State of the Nation Addresses (SONA), Go vowed to pursue other measures that would help deliver the promise of the President to provide a comfortable life for all Filipinos before his term ends.
This included health-related and economic measures to address the current COVID-19 pandemic as well as spur economic growth and help poor and vulnerable sectors recover from various crisis situations.
“This pandemic is far from over. As we overcome these challenges, we will make sure that not a single Filipino is left behind on the path to recovery,” Go said.
“Patuloy akong magsisilbing tulay sa Pangulo at sa gobyernong ito para mabigyan ng boses at mabigyang kasagutan ang mga hinaing ng mga ordinaryong Pilipino,’’ he added. (I will continue to serve as the bridge to the President and this government in order to give voice and provide answers to the concerns of the ordinary Filipinos.)
Not limiting his work to his legislative responsibilities in the Senate, Go continues to go around the country and help Filipinos in distress.
“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,’’ he stressed. (As a public servant, I will serve you wherever you are in the world in order to address your problems, listen to your concerns, and leave behind a smile at a time of your grievances.)
“Para sa amin, walang tulog ang serbisyo lalo na sa oras ng inyong pangangailangan. Kahit anumang problema ang inyong hinaharap — nasunugan, tinamaan ng lindol, apektado ng pagputok ng bulkan, nabahaan, lahat ng klasengkrisis — handa akong tumulong at maserbisyo sa inyo sa abot ng aking makakaya,’’ he added. (For us, service does not sleep especially during times of needs. Whatever problem you are facing— fire victims, hit by an earthquake, affected a volcanic eruption, floods, all kinds of crises — I am ready to help you to the best of my ability.)