Press Release
September 23, 2021

OP and PMS proposed budgets for 2022 approved in Senate Committee level as Bong Go manifests PRRD's commitment to deliver promised reforms

Senator and Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance Christopher "Bong" Go expressed his support for the proposed 2022 budgets of the Office of the President and Presidential Management Staff which will ensure the effective implementation of the presidential programs and management of all national security matters.

Go said he is confident that the offices will use the funds prudently in a speech delivered at a hearing of Finance Subcommittee "A'' presided by Committee Chair Sen. Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara on Wednesday, September 22.

"First of all, allow me to congratulate this administration, led by President Rodrigo Duterte ... for leading us in a path of reform in the past five years. It was a difficult task but all it takes is political will from a leader to accomplish the mission of providing better services to Filipinos, and combating criminality, illegal drugs and corruption," he said.

The Senator also hailed the administration's commitment to deliver on its promise of providing a more comfortable life for all. In terms of infrastructure, he lauded the completion of 29,264 kilometers of roads, 5,950 bridges, and 451 seaport and 214 airport projects, as of June 2021.

He also noted its emphasis on agriculture through the distribution of 229,289 hectares of land and support of 937,040 farmers under the Free Irrigation Act, one of Duterte's campaign promises in 2016.

Go added that access to education has considerably grown, with around 1.62 million students benefiting from free education and 150,149 classrooms completed as of June. Following the disruptions caused by COVID-19, he welcomed the administration's efforts to help children safely return to school through a pilot test for face-to-face classes in some 120 schools.

"I remind our authorities to have a limited and careful implementation in the meantime. Ibig sabihin, unahin natin ang kalusugan at buhay ng mga kabataan at ng mga guro dahil talagang delikado pa [ang panahon]. Mas lalong magiging busy ang ating government workers sa contact tracing once na kumalat itong sakit ... unahin natin ang buhay ng bawat Pilipino," reminded Go.

In the campaign against criminality and illegal drugs, the Senator praised the President for the dramatic 64% decline in crimes nationwide from July 2016 to June 2021. As of May 2021, a total of 203,715 operations have been conducted which have resulted in the seizure of an estimated P60 billion worth of illegal drugs, arrest of 12,356 high-value targets and surrender of 1.22 million drug users.

"Part na ito noong mga nakaraang drug haul ng ating gobyerno. Nakita niyo naman, na talagang seryoso ang kampanya ni Pangulong Duterte laban sa iligal na droga. Alam naman natin na marami pong apektado nitong drogang ito. Ito rin ang kanyang ipinangako noon bago siya naging Pangulo," continued Go.

"Sa mga gusto naman pong magbagong buhay, bigyan naman natin sila ng pagkakataon kaya may mga rehabilitation centers tayo all over the country," he said.

As Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Go lauded the efforts to expand access to quality, affordable healthcare services through the establishment of 141 Malasakit Centers, which have assisted over two million particularly poor and indigent patients nationwide. The program was institutionalized under the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019 which Go authored and sponsored.

On this note, he called on the administration to continue its efforts to boost the country's vaccination rates which currently stands at 42.1 million vaccinated individuals. Of this figure, 23.1 million have received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine while another 19 million are fully immunized.

"Patuloy lang ito hanggang maabot natin ang population protection tungo sa herd immunity ngayong taong ito para sumaya ang ating Pasko. Pakiusap ko lang sa mga kababayan natin, magtiwala kayo sa gobyerno. Magtiwala kayo sa bakuna. Ang bakuna lang ang tanging susi o solusyon sa ngayon upang makabalik tayo sa ating normal na pamumuhay tulad noon," appealed Go.

"Malayo na ang ating narating at maraming pangako ang natupad ng Pangulo. Pero hindi pa natatapos ang ating laban," he cautioned.

The Senator lamented that the pandemic disrupted the economic development of the country under the President's term. Despite this, the country managed to stay afloat and battle the crisis under his steady guidance through the support of the OP and PMS.

"Ang ganda na sana ng takbo ng ating ekonomiya sa pamumuno ni Pangulong Duterte bago dumating itong COVID-19 ... [Gayunpaman] buti na lang ang Pangulo natin ngayong may pandemya ay si Pangulong Duterte na may political will at mayroon tayong kapitan sa ating barko. I have no doubts that with the leadership of our President, our nation will be able to defeat this virus," encouraged Go.

In the end, he recognized the men and women of the OP and PMS without whom the offices could not function. Go thanked them for their professionalism and dedication and expressed confidence that with their continued support, the Duterte Administration will fulfill its missions to get the country safely through the pandemic and revitalize the economy.

"Noong nagtratrabaho pa ako sa Malacañang, nakita ko ang dedikasyon ng mga tao sa mga opisinang ito. Alam kong hindi basta-basta ang kanilang tungkulin, walang oras ang pagtatrabaho, dedicated itong mga empleyadong ito. Lalo na ngayong pandemya, walang tulog ang mga 'yan. Saksi ako sa kanilang galing at sipag sa pagseserbisyo sa bayan at sa mga kapwa nating Pilipino," said Go.

"Ngayong pandemya, alam kong nasa mabuting mga kamay ang bansa dahil nandyan ang [OP] at PMS na umaalalay kay Pangulong Duterte."

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