SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go, in coordination with the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Pangkabuhayan sa Pagbangon at Ginhawa (PPG) program, extended support and livelihood assistance to 120 former rebels from various towns in Bohol on Tuesday, November 21.

The beneficiaries are from Sagbayan, Danao, Catigbian, Carmen, Sevilla, Loon, Talibon, Trinidad, Dauis, Alicia, Ubay, Mabini, Candijay, Bilar, Tagbilaran City, Dagohoy, Anda, and Batuan.

Held at the Bohol Provincial Capitol ceremonial hall in Tagbilaran City, Go’s team distributed snacks, shirts, and balls for basketball and volleyball. Meanwhile, DTI extended livelihood kits and monetary vouchers, which the former rebels can use to acquire additional resources for enhancing their livelihood initiatives.

“Nais kong magpasalamat sa DTI sa inyong PPG program dahil hindi lamang nagbibigay ng tulong kundi pati na rin ng sapat na kaalaman at kakayahan para sa mga pamilyang apektado ng iba’t-ibang krisis, kasama na dyan ang mga former rebels na nagbalik-loob sa lipunan,” Go said in a video message.

“Ang PPG program ay isang malinaw na halimbawa kung paano natin maipapakita ang malasakit at suporta sa ating mga kababayan na tinamaan ng mga pagsubok. Ang inyong pagsisikap ay hindi lamang nagbibigay ng tulong sa mga pamilya at indibidwal, kundi pati na rin sa mga komunidad na nangangailangan ng pagbangon,” he continued.

During the relief activity, Go’s team was also joined by DTI Provincial Director Vierna Ligan and representative Jerome Gabin, Bohol Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) Officer Nita Tecson, and Oscar Valles, representing Governor Aristotle Aumentado.

“Palaguin niyo ang inyong negosyo. Kapag lumago ang inyong negosyo, dalhin niyo po ang mga kita sa inyong mga pamilya… mas masarap sa pakiramdam kapag pinagpawisan at pinaghirapan niyo po ang inyong pagnenegosyo at napalago ninyo,” Go said to beneficiaries of the program.

Go also highlighted the Balik-Loob Program or the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), a significant government initiative managed by the Task Force Balik-Loob (TFBL). Established through Administrative Order No. 10 in 2018 under former president Rodrigo Duterte, TFBL coordinates the government’s efforts to reintegrate former rebels associated with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) and their immediate families.

“Importante sa akin ang kapayapaan… Wala na po dapat na patayan, sino ba namang gustong magpatayan. Masakit makitang kapwa Pilipino laban sa kapwa Pilipino. Bigyan natin ng sapat na suporta ang mga dating rebelde na nais magbalik-loob sa lipunan,” Go said.

“We hope that the government’s efforts will be successful in achieving sustainable peace and development across the country,” added Go.

Go likewise conveyed his appreciation to President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., for enacting Republic Act 11960 which institutionalized the One Town, One Product (OTOP) Philippines Program.

The OTOP Philippines Program, co-sponsored by Go who also served as one of its authors, is a governmental stimulus strategically crafted to nurture the expansion of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) nationwide. The program places a strong emphasis on harnessing local resources while concurrently safeguarding the rich tapestry of cultural heritage.

In a bid to bring the government’s medical support closer to Filipinos, Go, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, encouraged them to visit the Malasakit Centers located at the Governor Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital (GCGMH) in Tagbilaran City and at Don Emilio del Valle Memorial Hospital in Ubay.

Principally authored and sponsored by the Go, RA 11463 or the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019 provides poor and indigent patients with convenient access to medical assistance programs by the government. Malasakit Centers act as one-stop shops where government agencies with medical assistance programs are placed under one room inside qualified public hospitals to help cover patients’ medical bills.

To date, there are 159 Malasakit Centers nationwide that have helped over ten million poor and indigent Filipinos, according to DOH.

Go principally sponsored the passage of RA 11883 which converts GCGMH to Governor Celestino Gallares Multi-Specialty Medical Complex.

Furthermore, Go said necessary funds have been allocated for DOH to construct Super Health Centers in the province. Through the collective efforts of fellow lawmakers, sufficient funds have been allocated for 307 Super Health Centers in 2022 and 322 in 2023. DOH, the lead implementing agency, identifies the strategic areas where they will be constructed.

Super Health Centers are medium versions of polyclinics and are bigger than rural health units, which offer basic services, such as database management, outpatient, birthing, isolation, diagnostic (laboratory: x-ray and ultrasound), pharmacy, and an ambulatory surgical unit. Other services available include eye, ear, nose, and throat (EENT) care, oncology centers, physical therapy and rehabilitation centers, and telemedicine, which enables remote diagnosis and treatment of patients.

In Bohol, Super Health Centers will be located in Buenavista, Candijay, Dauis, Sagbayan, Talibon, Antequera, Balilihan, Bien Unido, Carmen, Panglao, Tagbilaran City, and Ubay.

Go, vice chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, has also supported numerous initiatives focused on boosting economic growth and improving the quality of public service delivery in the province.

These include the construction of multipurpose buildings in Alicia, Anda, Balilihan, Batuan, Buenavista, Danao, Dimiao, Duero, Garcia Hernandez, Guindulman, Loay, Loon and Valencia; improvement of evacuation centers in Panglao, Anda, Balilihan, Carmen, Corella, Garcia-Hernandez and Valencia; installation of a water system in President Carlos P. Garcia; construction of the municipal slaughterhouse in Inabanga; and the acquisition and installation of solar-powered street lights in Getafe.