Senator Bong Go
MANILA — In an ambush interview on Friday, August 28, after his visit to fire victims in Panacan, Davao City, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go shared his views regarding the resignation of Philippine Health Insurance Corporation President and CEO Ricardo Morales, and the twin bombings in Jolo, Sulu, among other issues.
Go said that the Duterte Administration continues its efforts to cleanse government of systemic corruption, particularly in PhilHealth. He recommended that any official named to be involved in anomalies must be preventively suspended to protect the integrity of the ongoing investigation. He stressed that individuals found to be responsible for wasting or stealing people’s money must be held accountable.
“Walang katapusan ang hearing namin sa Senado, may mga reported corruption sa baba. Tingin ko, nasa baba talaga at di nakikita ng mga nasa taas ang ginagawang palusot sa baba so dapat masuspinde sila, maiimbestigahan, makasuhan, lifestyle check, put them in jail, ‘yun po ang importante dun, at suspindihin talaga para di na sila makagalaw. Pilayan talaga,” said Go.
The NBI’s Task Force – PhilHealth is currently aiding the Task Force led by the Department of Justice in its ongoing investigation. The findings of the probe will be submitted to the inter-agency panel led by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra that will propose legal actions to President Rodrigo Duterte.
“’Yan rin ang ginagawa na ngayon ng Ombudsman. Meron nang task force na ginawa ang Pangulo. Kasama na rito na tumutulong ang Ombudsman and Commission on Audit. Papanagutin sila, kukwentahin ang nasayang na pera ng gobyerno. Uulitin ko, wala dapat masayang na pondo ng gobyerno lalo na ngayon na naghihirap ang ating bayan sa krisis na ito, ibalik natin ang pera ng tao sa kanila,” he continued.
Go went on to disclose that the President had some names in mind to replace Morales. The retired army general tendered his resignation on Wednesday, August 26 just over a year into his stint as PhilHealth chief, upon President Duterte’s advice.
“Nagkausap kami ni Pangulong Duterte kaninang madaling araw. Mayroon nang nasa radar niya, pinag-iisipan na niyang mabuti. He will decide by Monday kung kanya na pong pipiliin itong taong ito na papalit kay Gen. Morales. Kailangan na rin talagang magkaroon ng kapalit para tuloy tuloy ang serbisyo ng PhilHealth. Hindi po ma-hamper o maantala ang serbisyo para sa tao,” Go added.
Meanwhile, the Senator also responded to the proposals for the declaration of martial law in Sulu following the twin bombings that killed fifteen people on Monday, August 24.
While he expressed his openness to the suggestion if necessary, Go explained that there are already counter-terrorism measures in place that would provide the state’s forces the capabilities they need to carry out their operations against the terrorists, and the reinstatement of martial law must be a course of last resort.
“Kung kailangan, suportado ko po. Dadaan po ito sa amin sa Senado kung kailangan lang po. Pero kung kaya naman ng batas natin, ‘yung Anti-Terrorism Law na sugpuin o makakatulong sa pagsugpo sa terrorism lalo na sa Mindanao, last option na po ang martial law para sa akin,” said Go.
The Senator reiterated his call for all agencies of government to ensure that those responsible for these acts of terrorism are held accountable for their actions. “Bigyan natin ng hustisya ang mga inosenteng buhay na nawala dahil sa walang saysay na terorismo.”
Previously, Go explained that the Anti-Terrorism Law must be implemented properly tobenforce the law within its bounds against those who break it in order to stop terrorism at its roots.
“Gamitin dapat ang ngipin ng ATL para labanan ang terorismo especially sa Jolo. Plano po namin ni Pangulong Duterte na pumunta at makiramay sa mga pamilyang namatayan… Tuloy tuloy po ang digmaan doon laban sa mga terorista. Kailangan nating ipakita sa kanila na andyan po ang gobyerno para sa kanila.”
Meanwhile, Go also shared that during a hearing conducted last August 26 by the Senate Committee on Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlement, he pushed for the passage of two measures to improve access to affordable and decent housing for Filipinos especially to the poor and displaced families.
Senate Bill No. 203, otherwise called the National Housing Development, Production and Financing Bill, seeks to address the housing shortage in the Philippines by generating funds to increase the production of low-cost housing; and establishing a strong, sustainable, accessible and affordable housing finance system. In addition to this, SBN 1227 or Rental Housing Subsidy Program Act aims to give families displaced by natural and man-made disasters with improved access to the formal housing market.
“Ito po yung dalawang bill na na-file ko sa Senado. Ambitious bill man po ito pero ang target nito ay wala na pong squatter sa sariling bayan. It’s a long term plan at kailangan po nito ng pondo. Sana po ay suportahan po ito. Sa buong bansa, sikapin nating magkakaroon ng sariling pamamahay ang karamihan sa ating mga kababayan,” Go said.
“Ito namang rental subsidy, tuwing nasusunugan sila at di pa narerelocate ay bibigyan sila ng pang-rent kasi karamihan sa kanila ayaw umalis doon sa kanilang tinitirhan dahil doon sila nagtatrabaho at ayaw nilang mapalayo,” he added.