Press Release
January 27, 2020

Rotary International honors Bong Go with Golden Wheel Award

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 on Saturday, January 25, 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 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 has 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 then 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," he said. "Pinursige at pinaglaban ko na maisabatas ito sa Kongreso dahil alam ko na ang karamihan nating mga kababayan, lalo na ang masang mahihirap, ang matutulungan nito.

"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 added.

Republic Act (RA) 11463, otherwise known as the "Malasakit Center Act of 2019", 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.

"To help improve their circumstances, I am also pushing for several amendments to the Solo Parents' Welfare Act, which would expand the discounts, benefits, exemptions and privileges that they are entitled under the law.

"I believe it is our duty to help them or else we will be setting them up for a future of failure and poverty," he added.

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 also shared his proposed bills which 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.

The senator stated that he envisions the proposed executive department to become "an empowered, highly specialized department with clear unity of command and primarily responsible in ensuring safe, adaptive and disaster-resilient communities."

"Sa oras ng sakuna, ang mga kababayan nating mahihirap ang tunay na apektado at nagdurusa. Hindi man po natin malaman kung kailan eksaktong oras tatama ang mga kalamidad na ito, mahalaga po na manatili tayong handa sa mga ito," he said.

Go is also pushing for 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, adding that it is high time for the government to take a proactive approach to disaster resilience.

"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," he added.

In congruence with the government's fight against corruption, illegal drugs and criminality, Go also mentioned his move to file 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.

Go then assured the audience that he and the President will continue to serve the welfare and interest of the people and the generations of Filipinos to come.

"Gusto naming hindi na maging problema ang pagpapagamot ng mga mahihirap. Gusto naming labanan ang droga, korapsyon at kriminalidad. Gusto naming mabigyan ng magandang kinabukasan ang susunod na henerasyon," he said.

Amidst various criticisms thrown at them, the senator also reiterated that he will continue to stay behind the President, saying "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."

"Kailanman hinding-hindi ko iiwan ang ating Pangulong Duterte," he added

Go also vowed not to waste any opportunity to do good, particularly to those who really need help.

"Meron lang akong gustong sabihin, English po nakasulat sa aking speech pero tatagalugin ko po ito. 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," he said.

Ending his speech, Go said that while he never expected to become a senator, he will continue to use the opportunity given to him to be of service to the people.

"Sa mga fellow servants ko sa gobyerno, yung mga governors dito, 'Gov' rin po ang tawag sa inyo para na rin po kayong mga public servants. Alam n'yo noon kapag nakikita ko ang Rotary governors, naiinggit po ako sabi ko sana maging governor din ako," he said.

"Ako naman po hindi ko akalaing magiging senador ako, kami ni Pangulong Duterte patuloy po kaming magse-serbisyo sa Filipino dahil para sa amin ang serbisyo sa tao ay serbisyo sa Diyos," he ended.

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