Former Special Assistant to the President (SAP) and 2019 senatorial candidate Bong Go backed a proposal to create a Department of Water, which President Rodrigo Duterte himself supported, to ensure adequate supply of clean water for home use as well as for irrigation.
He echoed the President’s support for the proposal creating an agency that would solely address the needs of Filipinos when it comes to water supply after being told the people of Gumaca and other parts of Quezon are suffering from lack of potable water.
“Isa po iyan sa aking titingnan at sisilipin pagdating ng panahon. Gusto ko pong makatulong. Meron pong mga proposal si (NEDA) Secretary (Ernesto) Pernia na magkaroong ng Department of Water,” Go said.
“Siguro it’s high time na po na magkaroon tayo ng departamento na nakatututok sa tubig kasi hindi lang po sa Maynila nagkakaroon ng problema sa tubig, lalong-lalo na po dito sa malalayong lugar kasi kulang pa po ang mga pasilidad o mga negosyanteng nag-iinvest po ng negosyo na nagsusupply ng tubig,” he added.
According to Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo, the President is in favor of the proposal to form a separate department for water-related concerns, believing it would prevent a repeat of the water service interruption experienced recently by parts of Metro Manila and Rizal province.
“It’s high time that we create a department solely dedicated to water.”
Panelo said the creation of a water department was one of the topics discussed during the 36th Cabinet meeting last April 1, 2019 in Malacañang.
Go also urged the Local Water Utilities Administration to look into the water problems that many municipalities are experiencing in the country. He added that if elected to the Senate, he would also help find solution to the problem.
“Ako rin, pagdating ng panahon ay isa po yan sa aking magiging prayoridad. Serbisyo kaagad, mabilis na serbisyo para sa kapwa tao,” Go said. Earlier, he also called for the expansion of the existing irrigation system to mitigate the negative effects of the perennial drought the country experiences.
“We need to expand existing irrigation system to mitigate the negative effects of the perennial drought.”
Go showed his support for the creation of the water department as he returned to Quezon province anew, conducting a motorcade that passed along the towns of Lopez and Gumaca, where he later attended a “Serbisyong Tunay at Natural” rally organized by Rep. Helen Tan at the Gumaca covered court.
The former SAP expressed his gratitude for the people and residents of the province for the warm welcome he had received, reminiscent of his previous visit to Gumaca in November last year when he graced the inauguration of the Southern Quezon Convention Center.
“Maraming salamat sa mga taga-(Gumaca) Quezon at sa iba pang munisipyong nandito. Pagbaba ko pa lang kanina dun sa Lopez po ay napakainit ng pagtanggap doon sa downtown area hanggang dito sa Gumaca. Nakakatuwa naman po na kahit na medyo malayo po itong lugar na ito ay talagang mainit yung pagtanggap nila sa akin,” the former presidential aide said in an interview.
Gumaca is part of the 4th District of Quezon, a cluster of municipalities located in the southernmost part of the province and adjacent to Camarines provinces in Bicol region. But Go said he does not mind the distance as long as he could get the chance to talk to the people to hear their concerns.
“Kahit saang sulok ng bansa, sabi ko basta kaya ng katawan ko ay papasukin ko. Mas (mabuti kung) makakahalubilo mo sila, mas makakausap mo, maririnig mo ano yung mga hinaing nila,” he said.
The province of Quezon has adopted Go as its son, being one of the provinces of CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) that declared Go as an adopted son of the region back in February this year.
Meanwhile, Go also said he shares the advocacy of Quezon’s 4th District Rep. Helen Tan, who is a physician, for improved delivery of health services in the country.
“Iisa po ako sa nilapitan niya noon para po maisulong kaagad itong Universal Health Care and it will complement the Malasakit Center,” he said. Among others, Go is batting for a law to establish Malasakit Center in more areas of the country and allow the program to continue even after the Duterte administration.
A program of the Duterte administration, the Malasakit Center makes it easier and faster for poor patients to get medical and financial help from the government by bringing together in one room all concerned government agencies such as the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and Philhealth.
Quezon province already has its own Malasakit Center. It was the 26th Malasakit Center established in the country from the 34 currently in operation in various areas of the Philippines.
“Ang isa po sa aking tinututukan ay itong mga hospital facilities, mga equipment ng hospital. Kasi po maraming hospital sa ibang lugar kulang yung mga kagamitan kaya minsan pumupunta pa rin sila sa bayan o Metro Manila,” Go pointed out.
He likewise bared his plan to increase the salary of nurses as well as the possible expansion of the services of the barangay health station, bringing directly to the barangay residents basic medical services.
During the rally, Go assured the people of the province that he would continue to support the programs and policies of President Rodrigo Duterte, whom he had served for over 21 years.
“Basta ako sa nalalabing taon ni Pangulong Duterte ay talagang ibubuhos namin lahat, including the campaign against illegal drugs, criminality and corruption. Suportado ko po si Pangulong Duterte dyan. Isa yan sa kanyang ipinangako na babaguhin niya nung umupo siya noong 2016. Ngayong 2019 isa yan sa aking isusulong at ipagpapatuloy ko ang pagbabagong inumpisahan ni Pangulong Dutere,” Go said.
In his recent visit to Quezon, he noted that the province stands to benefit from various infrastructure programs under the Duterte administration, including the Philippine National Railways (PNR) Long Haul project, a 639-km rail track connecting Manila and Bicol that would pass by Lucena City and the town of Gumaca, Quezon.
Go also cited the on-going feasibility study for the proposed Quezon-Bicol Expressway connecting Pagbilao, Quezon and San Fernando, Camarines Sur as well as the establishment of the Quezon Coconut Research Center.
“Patuloy po ninyo akong magiging tulay kay Pangulong Duterte. Wala po kaming ibang hangarin ni Pangulong Duterte kundi kabutihan ng bawat Pilipino dahil mahal namin ang Pilipino,” he stressed.
Other priority concerns under Go’s legislative agenda include programs for agriculture, education, housing for the poor, long-term sports development, fire protection and prevention, localized peace talks, barangay welfare, creation of a Department for overseas Filipino workers and additional benefits for senior citizens.