In two words, “you go,” President Rodrigo Duterte could have charted the political future of Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go.
Mr. Duterte said the magic word which Go had said would be the only statement that can convince him to seek a senatorial post. Go had repeatedly resisted endorsements from several sectors supporting his candidacy despite his strong showing in pre-election surveys.
“I will help him because his grandfather [the late Augusto Tesoro] was a friend,” Mr. Duterte said during the press conference following his arrival from Bali, Indonesia, on Friday at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport.
“I said if you want to run, do it now. Do not go into that kind of substitute candidacies. Because people would read into that,” Duterte recalled telling Go.
The President said he is also scouting for Go’s replacement as Special Assistant to the President (SAP).
“Do not forget…I’m not campaigning…but he’s also due for replacement. I am really searching for his replacement,” he said.
In an interview after the press conference, Go admitted it was difficult for him to decide whether to run and file his Certificate of Candidacy (CoC). “I am really undecided yet,” he said.
Under both PDP, HNP
If he does run, Go said he will campaign under the banner of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino (PDP) as his national party affiliation and the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) for the regional party co-founded by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, who is the President’s daughter.
Go had tied with Sara as the second top pick in the survey conducted by PDP among its members. Go has also been endorsed by Sara herself and HNP stalwarts.
Go has been going around representing the President in several events and in establishing the Malasakit Centers across the country.
Tool to uplift lives
Go said the Malasakit Centers are effective tools for uplifting the life of Filipinos by giving them access to quality and efficient health assistance.
“I saw how effective the centers are since we opened a Malasakit Center in Cebu which serves as a one-stop shop for government assistance,” Go said.
Go was recently in Cagayan de Oro City for the launching of the 12th Malasakit Center at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center.
Malasakit Centers are one-stop shops that are meant to hasten the delivery of medical services to indigent patients.
Under the program, patients are guided through the process of receiving medical services and financial assistance that are currently available through the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), Department of Health (DoH) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Pooled together, these government subsidies can cut the patient’s medical bill, including medicines, to the lowest possible amount.
Priority is Mindanao
During the same visit, Go said Mindanaoans will experience more development in the region through the various infrastructure projects being handled by the Duterte administration.
“Rest assured that Mindanao development is our priority. Watch out for the expansion of the Laguindingan airport, the Panguil Bay Bridge and the Mindanao Railway Project,” he said.
Also in Cagayan de Oro, members of the Liga ng mga Barangay, Misamis Oriental chapter pledged their support to Go as they urged him to run for the upcoming 2019 senatorial race.
In their resolution, they said Go is best suited for a senatorial position for him to help the country.
“Liga ng mga Barangay-Misamis Oriental Chapter has seen the potential of Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Bong Go to become one of the country’s leaders, given his proven dedication to public service and genuine concern or malasakit (caring), especially for the poor people,” read the resolution.
Prior to the launching of the Malasakit Center, Go also provided assistance to Abino Amper, who was recently the subject of a viral post on Facebook.
According to netizen Jun Tupag, Amper despite his advanced age, was still actively looking to work just so he can provide for his family. After seeing a poster of President Duterte and SAP Go, Amper made an appeal for assistance which became viral after Tupag shared it.
Responding to the clamor, Go has extended help to Amper, including free medical assistance and livelihood support.
Bol-anons express support
Members of the Sangguniang Kabataan and Liga ng mga Barangay of Bohol also pledged their support to Go’s Senate run through resolutions urging him to seek a Senate post.
The Liga ng mga Barangay ng Pilipinas-Tagbilaran chapter said Go in the Senate will be good for the country as he would then have a “platform to push laws that would benefit the Filipino people.”
In their resolution, they said Go can best help the Philippines if he is given the opportunity to “make laws suited to the present situation of the country.”
This sentiment is also shared by the Sangguniang Kabataan Panlungsod sa Pederasyon ng Tagbilaran which said Go embodies the kind of unselfish leadership that we need in the Senate. “(His) attributes as a leader reflect his advocacies and goals in achieving a better nation.”
Go was in Bohol for the launching of the 11th Malasakit Center at Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital, Tagbilaran City.
Go said Bohol and the rest of Central Visayas will definitely benefit from the development projects of the Duterte government, especially from the “Build, Build, Build” program.
“President Duterte and I will be back in the coming months for the opening and inauguration of Panglao airport. This will increase incoming passengers for the improvement of tourism in the area,” he added.