Press Release
May 28, 2024

Bong Go honored with "Champion of Life Hero of the Year" award in Japan as he continues to fight for healthcare access, OFWs protection, and welfare of film industry

For pledging his life in service and bringing true and lasting meaning to his "Malasakit" advocacies, Senator Christopher "Bong" Go was honored with the Jinseo Arigato "Champion of Life Hero of the Year" award in Nagoya, Japan on Sunday, May 26.

The honor recognizes the impact of Go's dedication to lift the quality of lives of Filipinos by initiating measures for more accessible health care, among others. He is also praised for his leadership in inspiring genuine concern for the poor among those in government.

Senator Go, also known as "Mr. Malasakit" for his compassionate brand of public service, was full of humility in accepting the award. "Ako naman po, with or without an award, I am grateful and honored to always serve the Filipino people. Bisyo ko na ang magserbisyo at ako po'y naniniwala na ang serbisyo po sa tao, serbisyo po 'yan sa ating Panginoon," he said in his acceptance speech.

"First of all, I would like to take this moment to express my deepest gratitude to the award-giving body for the Jinseo Arigato Champion of Life award. This special award is truly a profound honor. Pero huwag po kayo magpasalamat sa akin. Ako po ang nagpapasalamat sa inyo dahil binigyan n'yo ako ng pagkakataon na magserbisyo sa kapwa ko Pilipino," Go added.

The award was presented by no less than Philippine Consul General in Nagoya, Japan Roy B. Ecraela at the Jinseo Arigato International Film Festival Awards Night. Known for its significant contribution to the international film community, the event celebrated the cross-cultural collaboration between the Philippines and Japan.

Addressing the significance of the film industry, Go assured his full support for Filipino filmmakers and the cultural value they add both locally and internationally.

"We also celebrated the Filipino films included in this prestigious festival. I am incredibly proud of the work of our filmmakers. Your creativity and dedication reflect the rich talent and potential of the Filipino people. Rest assured, I will continue to support the Filipino film industry, recognizing its immense potential," said Go.

The Senator also recognized the sacrifices of Filipinos in Japan and other parts of the world.

"During the time of President (Rodrigo) Duterte, we prioritized the welfare of our OFWs. We passed Republic Act No. 11641, which established the Department of Migrant Workers. Ito po 'yung Department of OFW...Ako po'y isa sa mga author at co-sponsor ng batas na 'yan, which underscores our government's commitment to listen, to protect, and uphold the rights and welfare of Filipino migrant workers," the senator explained.

"At sa mga nakapag-asawa po ng Japanese, alagaan n'yo po ang inyong mga asawa. Alam n'yo mababait po ang Pilipino, sa totoo lang po. Swerteng-swerte po kayo sa inyong napangasawang Pilipina," he added.

Go always reminds concerned agencies, embassies and consulates to be available "24/7" for Filipinos abroad as they have no one else to run to but the representatives of the Philippine government.

"Gusto ko rin pong batiin si Consul General Roy Ecraela. Salamat po sa pag-aalaga sa mga kababayan natin dito. And salamat po sa mga ConGen, (foreign service) officers and employees," said Go.

Go then spoke about his legislative efforts, particularly those impacting health and public welfare, which have also indirectly supported the creative industries by improving the overall well-being of Filipinos.

As a Senate Committee on Public Information member, he is pushing to pass Senate Bill No. 1183 or the "Media and Entertainment Workers Welfare Act". This proposal aims to provide enhanced protection, security, and incentives for media workers in the country across all platforms.

The bill includes provisions for additional health insurance coverage, overtime and night differential pay, hazard pay, and other benefits to safeguard the rights and welfare of media workers.

Go is also a member of the MMFF Executive Committee. Recognizing the exposure needed by Filipino filmmakers under the festival's single annual event, he proposed the creation of the Metro Manila Summer Film Festival, providing a second yearly platform for showcasing quality Filipino movies and supporting the growth of the country's film industry. He also continues to support MMFF's efforts of promoting local films as it now celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

Go also highlighted his dedication to enhancing access to healthcare through the ongoing operations of Malasakit Centers, the establishment of more Super Health Centers nationwide, and the enactment of the Regional Specialty Centers Act to bring medical services closer to the less privileged and remote areas.

"I principally sponsored and authored Republic Act 11463 or the Malasakit Centers Act. Mayroon na ho tayong 165 na Malasakit Center sa buong Pilipinas. Nakakalat po 'yan sa buong Pilipinas na laging handang tumulong po sa ating mga poor and indigent patients," he said.

These one-stop shops aim to support impoverished patients in reducing their hospital costs to the least possible amount. The DOH reports that the Malasakit Center program has already provided aid to more or less ten million Filipinos.

As the chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, he principally sponsored and is one of the authors of a newly enacted law for the establishment of Regional Specialty Centers to bring specialized medical services closer to people outside the major urban centers.

"I am proud to have been the principal sponsor and one of the authors of Republic Act No. 11959, also known as the Regional Specialty Centers Act. Ito po 'yung maglalagay na po ng mga heart center, lung center, neonatal, cancer center sa mga selected DOH hospitals in every region all over the country," he said.

Lastly, the Super Health Center initiative, according to Go who advocated for its establishment, is a pivotal part of the government's strategy to enhance the country's healthcare system in the grassroots.

Through the collective efforts of Go as vice chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, the DOH, local government units, and fellow lawmakers, sufficient funds have been allocated for around 700 Super Health Centers nationwide to bring primary care, medical consultations and early disease detection closer to communities.

In closing, Go expressed a poignant reflection on the transient nature of life and the importance of doing good: "Minsan lang po tayo dadaan sa mundong ito... Kung ano pong kabutihan at tulong na pwede nating gawin sa ating kapwa, gawin na po natin ngayon dahil hindi na po tayo babalik sa mundong ito."

"Ako po ang inyong Senador kuya Bong Go, patuloy po akong magseserbisyo sa ating kapwa Pilipino sa abot ng aking makakaya... Mabuhay po ang Pilipino," Go ended.

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