Press Release
February 20, 2024

Bong Go continues push for Mindanao development through collaborative efforts towards unity and progress

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go personally attended the 17th Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Board of Directors Meeting at the SMX Convention Center in Lanang, Davao City, on Friday, February 16. As an ex-officio member of the board representing the Senate, Go highlighted his support for collaborative efforts in pursuing Mindanao's continued progress and inclusive development.

Go cited that initiatives and support from the government and various stakeholders, ranging from infrastructure development to socio-economic programs, have driven positive changes across communities in Mindanao and have equipped residents with the necessary tools to withstand adversities and thrive in the face of challenges.

"Kapag sama-sama, wala pong imposible. Not only in peace and order, not only sa development, including din ang sports. As your Chairman ng Senate Committee on Sports, napansin ko po na kapag nagtulungan ang gobyerno at ang pribadong sector, marami pong potential athletes natin na talagang nag-e-excel at nasusuportahan," Go added.

Go also emphasized the critical need to uphold anti-discrimination measures within the Mindanao region, advocating for equal rights and opportunities for all Filipinos to achieve inclusive development.

"Noong panahon ni (dating) pangulong Duterte, kahit na taga-Davao siya, taga-Mindanao siya, lagi niyang pinagbibilin. Sabi niya, 'gusto ko pantay-pantay ang lahat.' From CAR, region 1, region 2, down sa CARAGA region, sabi niya, 'Gusto ko lahat ng proyekto (ay) pantay-pantay at walang maiwan', dahil para sa kanya tayong lahat ay Pilipino," Go shared.

"Kami naman, (bilang) maraming senador din ang taga-Mindanao, (sisiguraduhin) namin na hindi kayo mahuhuli. Ngayon, ako po bilang isang senador, sisiguraduhin ko po na walang kababayan na maiiwan. Tutulong ako sa abot ng aking makakaya," he committed.

For his part as the vice chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Go played a key role in advocating for an increase in funding for the Strengthening Indigenous People in Mindanao (STIP-Mindanao) Program within the MinDA budget. Through Go's initiatives, the program was enhanced with an additional PhP10 million to enrich the cultural heritage of Indigenous communities and improve their quality of life.

Go also supported fellow Senator Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa's push for the digitalization efforts of MinDA. As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Sports, Go also pushed for the funding for the conduct of the BIMP-EAGA (bimp-eyaga) games this year.

"Sa tulong ni Senator Bong Go at mga Mindanaoan senators, lahat po sila ay nagkaisa para matulungan ang (MinDA) para mas lalo pang matulungan ang Mindanao. Php100 million ang naidagdag sa aming annual budget. Dahil mahal po ni Senator Bong Go ang Mindanao at ayaw niya maiwanan ang mga IP o indigenous peoples ng Mindanao, nagdagdag pa siya ng budget para sa Strengthening Indigenous People in Mindanao," MinDA Secretary Maria Belen Acosta cited in her speech.

"Di niya binanggit, napaka-humble. Pero yan po ang katotohanan na marami pong budget at suporta, galing sa Senado, lalo na kay Senator Bong Go. Kaya kami po ay naghanda ng resolution na ia-approve po natin later on, for the support that you are giving the Mindanao Development Authority and the whole Mindanao," Sec. Acosta added.

Go then underscored the importance of peace and order in Mindanao, a region historically marred by conflict but now on a promising path to stability and growth. The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) was finally established with the approval of the Bangsamoro Organic Law in 2019 which was passed during the term of former President Rodrigo Duterte.

"The government must continuously strive to bring about the much-needed reform and development in the Mindanao region and ensure just, inclusive, and lasting peace in the area," Go cited.

Meanwhile, Governing Board Member of the National Research Council of the Philippines, Gisela Concepcion, also expressed her gratitude towards the senator's contributions, saying, "I would like to thank the good senator for your Malasakit Centers programs and to help our country deal with infectious diseases and even mental health. Thank you so much for your efforts."

As Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Go helped bolster healthcare access in Mindanao. Among these are the continuing operations of Malasakit Centers which was institutionalized into law through RA 11463 that he principally authored and sponsored. There are 159 Malasakit centers operating nationwide, 40 of which are in Mindanao to make medical assistance programs more accessible to poor and indigent patients.

In addition to this, Go also advocated for the construction of Super Health Centers across the country. These centers will be instrumental in providing primary care services, and bringing healthcare closer to the people, especially in underserved areas.

"Sa pakikipagtulungan sa DOH, LGUs, at kapwa ko mambabatas, mahigit 700 na Super Health Centers ang ating napondohan... And in Mindanao, 224 were funded to provide immediate health services to our people," he cited.

Go also successfully sponsored the passage of 69 laws for the upgrade and establishment of public hospitals all over the country. This is aside from various health infrastructure and equipment he supported for various hospitals in Mindanao.

"May cancer center na rin sa Southern Philippines Medical Center sa Davao City. Isa lang ito sa ating pagsisikap na mapaganda pa ang serbisyong pangkalusugan sa Mindanao. Nasuportahan natin ang pagtatayo ng 300-bed infectious disease building at ng ambulansyang kumpleto sa equipment para sa SPMC," he earlier shared.

Furthermore, Go is the principal sponsor and one of the authors of RA 11959 or the Regional Specialty Centers Act. These facilities will focus on providing advanced medical care for specific conditions, thereby enhancing capacity to offer specialized treatment in all regions.

In Mindanao hospitals like Zamboanga City Medical Center, Northern Mindanao Medical Center, Mayor Hilarion A. Ramiro Sr. Medical Center, Southern Philippines Medical Center, Davao Regional Medical Center, Cotabato Regional and Medical Center, Caraga Regional Hospital, Adela Serra Ty Memorial Medical Center and Amai Pakpak Medical Center will have specialty centers to address various specialized health concerns.

Commending the strides taken by MinDA, Go acknowledged the significant projects that have been instrumental in boosting Mindanao's economic and social landscape. These include the establishment of Mindanao Development corridors and joint planning sessions for vital infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and flood control under the Mindanao Peace and Development Program.

Meanwhile, Go, as vice chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, has supported numerous infrastructure projects in Mindanao, such as the construction of the Center for the Advancement of Research in the University of the Philippines Mindanao; multipurpose buildings, sports complex and centers, parks, public markets, public terminals in various local government units, among others.

He also supported the construction of the National Commission of Senior Citizens building in General Santos City; Balay Dangupan and DSWD Field Office building in Davao City; as well as the Cooperative Development Authority building, DOJ National Prosecution Office Regional Office building, both in Marawi City.

Go also mentioned that the Duterte administration, through its Build Build Build Program, has prioritized various infrastructure projects in Mindanao such as the Panguil Bay Bridge which is targeted to be Mindanao's longest bridge.

"As your senator, patuloy po akong tutulong sa ating mga kababayan. Not only sa Mindanao, kundi sa buong Pilipinas. Yung mga programang makakatulong po sa mga mahihirap. Sa lahat ng mga kasama ko sa MinDA, bukas ang aking opisina sa inyo, kung ano po ang pwede kong maitulong, tutulong po ako sa inyo," said Go.

"I am committed to being your voice in the Senate, tirelessly advocating for the interests and aspirations of every Mindanaoan," he added.

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