ON THURSDAY, March 16, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go personally celebrated the 78th Liberation and 122nd Founding Anniversary of Romblon province — two events that highlighted the unity of its people who have overcome challenges and worked together to build a prosperous and vibrant community throughout the years.
Under Republic Act No. 9642, signed by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, March 16 of every year is declared as Romblon Foundation Day. Meanwhile, Proclamation No. 430, signed by former president Corazon Aquino, declares March 18 as the day of Romblon’s victory against Japanese forces during the Second World War.
During the event at Romblon Capitol Grounds, the senator was joined by Congressman Atty. Eleandro Madrona, Governor Jose Riano, Vice Governor Armando Gutierrez, Romblon Mayor Gerard Montojo and Vice Mayor Marino Mateo, among others.
Go then participated in the wreath-laying ceremony and inspected the newly renovated provincial capitol building, for which he supported the funding.
The senator was also declared as the adopted son of the province under Provincial Resolution No. 117, filed last March 7, wherein it expresses profound commendation and heartfelt gratitude towards the significant contributions of the senator in the development and advancement of medical facilities, healthcare and social services in the province of Romblon.
“Salamat po, mga kapatid. Salamat po, itinuring nyo po ako na isang kapatid dito sa Romblon. Bilang inyong adopted son, parang kuya niyo po ako o nakakabatang kapatid (kaya) lapitan niyo lang po ako dahil lagi (akong) handang tumulong sa inyo sa abot ng aking makakaya,” expressed Go in an ambush interview after the event.
Meanwhile, Go also lauded the province for its One Town, One Product Hub which he visited where various local products, particularly those made of marble, were showcased. He expressed support to efforts promoting local industries and vowed to help in their development.
Recently, Go authored and co-sponsored Senate Bill No. 1594, which aims to institutionalize the One Town, One Product (OTOP) Philippines Program. If passed into law, this aims to help boost recovery and promote innovation among Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
“The proposed measure shall assist and capacitate MSMEs in developing new, innovative and more complex products and services through significant improvement in the areas of quality, product development, design, packaging, standards compliance, marketability, production capability, brand development, sustainability, and securing licenses, product registration and other market authorization, among others,” Go stated about his bill.
After the celebration, Go personally spearheaded a relief operation at the provincial gymnasium. The senator and his team gave relief items, such as masks, food packs, vitamins, and snacks to 500 residents. They likewise gave away cellular phones, shoes, shirts, and balls for basketball and volleyball to select recipients.
“Bilang Chair ng Senate committee on Sports, gusto ko naman po na hindi masayang ang inumpisahan ni dating pangulong (Rodrigo) Duterte na labanan ang kriminalidad at ilegal na droga kaya ini-engganyo ko po ang mga kabataan na to get into sports, stay away from drugs. Ilayo po natin ang mga kabataan sa ilegal na droga while keeping them healthy and fit,” urged Go.
Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development provided financial assistance to support their daily necessities.
Following the aid activity, Go also conducted an inspection of the three-story evacuation center and recently procured ambulance in the town as well as the CT-Scan machine in a Romblon hospital — the funding for these he supported the past years.
To further boost development and economic growth in Romblon town, Go also supported the rehabilitation of several roads, among other infrastructure developments.
Go, who is the Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, then advised residents with health issues to seek the services of the Malasakit Center located at the Romblon Provincial Hospital in Odiongan, which he inspected on the same day.
The Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop that aims to reduce the medical expenses of poor and indigent patients to the lowest possible amount by covering various patient services and expenses. Since it was institutionalized under Republic Act No. 11463 in 2019, the government has then established 156 Malasakit Centers nationwide with more than seven million assisted according to the Department of Health. “Ang Malasakit Center ay para ito sa mga poor and indigent patients. Para ito sa Pilipino at handing tumulong sa inyo ang Malasakit Center, lapitan niyo lang po ang pinakamalapit sa inyo,” urged Go, who is the principal author and sponsor of the Act.
To ensure that basic health needs are more accessible, Go also supported the construction of Super Health Centers in the province located in the towns of Calatrava, Magdiwang, San Andres, San Jose, and Romblon, the groundbreaking for which he personally attended later that day.
Super Health Centers will be strategically built in far-flung communities to ensure basic health services are accessible to Filipinos. The centers offer database management, out-patient, birthing, isolation, diagnostic (laboratory: x-ray, ultrasound), pharmacy, and ambulatory surgical unit. Other available services are eye, ear, nose, and throat (EENT) service; oncology centers; physical therapy and rehabilitation center; and telemedicine, where remote diagnosis and treatment of patients will be done.
Through Go’s efforts and with the support of his fellow lawmakers, sufficient funds had been allocated under the 2022 national budget for the construction of some 307 Super Health Centers while 322 centers were funded for this year in other parts of the country.