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Go seeks more interventions to protect poor, vulnerable sectors

Bong Go

SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go expressed concern for the families who have been affected by the re-imposition of Enhanced Community Quarantine restrictions in the National Capital Region Plus areas amid rapidly rising number of COVID-19 cases.

He reiterated his appeal to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and affected local government units to expedite the distribution of the Supplemental Amelioration Program to an estimated 22.9 million low-income Filipinos.

Higit kumulang 22.9 milyong mahihirap na katao na bumubuo ng 80 porsyento ng populasyon ng NCR at mga probinsya ng Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite at Laguna na naka-ECQ ngayon ang dapat mabigyan ng ayuda sa lalong madaling panahon,” Go reiterated.

Aprubado na ito ng Pangulo kung kaya’t dapat na bilisan na natin ang pagbigay ng ayuda. Sa tulong ng mga LGUs, dapat maipamahagi ito sa bawat kwalipikadong indibidwal sa paraang maayos, mabilis, at walang bahid ng pulitika o korapsyon,” he added.

Around P23 billion was sourced from the balance of the Bureau of Treasury’s certified sources under the ‘Bayanihan to Recover as One Act’ following an earlier appeal from Go for the provision of additional aid to poor families affected by the imposed ECQ measures.

Nakiki-usap ako sa inyo. Bilisan niyo na ang pagpapababa ng pondo whether in cash or in-kind. Ang importante ay magamit na ito ng ating mahihirap na kababayan … Hindi lang nawalan ng trabaho [ang mga Pilipino]. Marami rin ang talagang tinamaan ang negosyo. Tandaan natin, mayroon ding mga pamilya at anak na pinapakain ang mga ito,” stressed Go.

When asked if government funds are available to provide for more additional aid from the government on top of the Supplemental Amelioration Program through the proposed Bayanihan 3 Act, he maintained that government finance managers still have to identify fund sources and thoroughly assess the financial situation of the country amid the growing needs of Filipinos.

Tinanong ko si Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez. Ang sagot niya ay naghahanap pa sila ng pondo. Ibig sabihin, habang wala pang pondong nakikita ay mahihirapan pang mailatag ang Bayanihan 3,” he said.

Ako po ay sang-ayon d’yan kung may pondo po… Sa ngayon po ay binabalanse pa muna nila lahat. Ayaw nila mangako… dahil, unang una, dapat munang ma-identify kung may pondo tayong pagkukuhaan,” he shared.

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Hindi pa natin alam rin until when ba itong pagtaas po ng kaso (ng COVID-19),” he added.

Go, however, expressed support for the Senate to tackle the proposed Bayanihan 3 once sources of funding have been identified, whether through a special session or during the regular session when Congress resumes in May. He added that for now, any available fund should be maximized and utilized immediately to help Filipinos recover from the economic crisis triggered by the pandemic.

Kung may pondo na at kung ano funds ang available ay itulong na natin. Maraming nawalan ng trabaho at negosyo. Maraming overseas Filipino workers ang nawalan ng trabaho. Almost 500,000 na ang umuwi dito sa ating bansa and I’m sure nawalan ito ng trabaho at mayroon itong mga pamilyang pinapakain,” he said.

Go also issued a strong appeal to the concerned agencies to implement urgent interventions to protect the welfare of poor and vulnerable sectors. He stressed that saving the lives of Filipinos, which includes addressing hunger and poverty, must be the primordial concern of the government.

Ako naman po, bilang Chair ng Senate Committee on Health, ang prayoridad natin ngayon ay makapagligtas ng buhay ng mga Pilipino. Kaakibat dyan ang pagsigurong maiiwasan hindi lang ang sakit, kundi pati rin ang gutom at kahirapan,” he said.

Kinailangan nating i-extend ang ECQ. Kaya dapat lang na ibigay rin natin ang anumang tulong na kaya nating ibigay sa mga tao. Habang pinipilit nating manatili sa bahay ang mga Pilipino, siguraduhin rin nating ligtas sila at may pang-kain sa kanilang pamilya,” he added.

Moreover, he urged fellow government officials to work together and find ways to unburden poor Filipinos amid the challenges the country is facing.

Hindi ito panahon para magsisihan kundi panahon ito para magtulungan. Ipagpatuloy natin ang bayanihan para malampasan ang krisis na ito,” he said.