By Ernie Reyes
MANILA – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said that the
government aims to ensure that the country’s economic growth is
sustained as he vowed to push for measures and policies that will
boost further economic recovery by next year.
During the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s
Presidentiables’ Forum held on November 18 at the 47th Philippine
Business Conference and Expo, Go said that in the immediate term, one
of the government’s goal is to provide assistance to micro, small and
medium enterprises (MSMEs).
“Many small businesses have indeed suffered immediate losses as a
result of the pandemic but many businesses have emerged and have
thrived amid these challenging times,” Go pointed out.
“The Duterte Administration has continued to provide employment
facilitation and training programs to enhance the skills of micro,
small and medium entrepreneurs,” he added.
To this end, Go cited the need to strengthen the capacity of the Land
Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines in
order to provide much-needed access to credit and financial assistance
to distressed businesses. The senator also pointed out the need to
lower the overall cost of borrowing for MSMEs.
Go further explained that in the long term, focus must shift to rural
development and the need to pump-prime commercial and industrial
developments outside the National Capital Region and Luzon.
Aside from these measures, Go said that the government will increase
the number of Negosyo Centers established nationwide and continue the
Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso initiative. The Department of Trade
and Industry has also established its COVID-19 Assistance to Restart
Enterprises that provides simplified and easy-to-access loan services.
Go also shared some of the economic measures that he supported to aid
in the country’s recovery. These include the passage of Republic Act
11534, otherwise known as the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives
for Enterprises Act, which lowered the corporate income tax to help
struggling MSMEs to cope with the pandemic.
Go also stressed the need to sustain the Build, Build, Build program
with the help of the private sector, noting that as an archipelago the
country needs connectivity through infrastructure projects such as
airports, seaports, roads and bridges.
“To sustain Build, Build, Build, we will partner with the private
sector, improve and strongly pursue the collection of taxes and
exercise prudent fiscal management. To ensure the Build, Build, Build
program’s integrity, we will intensify our anti-corruption efforts and
promote Freedom of Information in the program,” he added.
Go, a presidential aspirant, also said that if elected, he will
continue to address bureaucratic hurdles, mentioning that he
co-authored and co-sponsored RA 11517, an act expediting the
processing and issuance of national and local permits, licenses and
certifications in times of national emergency.
“As a probinsiyano, I want to see equal opportunities across the
regions. Walang isla ang mapag-iiwanan,” he added.
Go further noted that the Duterte Administration has made government
more responsive by institutionalizing reforms to streamline government
processes, such as, among others, the enactment of RA 11032 or the
Ease of Doing Business Act; creation of an Anti-Red Tape Authority or
ARTA; facilitation of the transition to E-Governance; and
implementation of the Philippine ID System.
The senator also shared that he has a pending bill in the Senate, the
E-Governance Act, which can serve partly as a blueprint and model on
how to transform many government processes into digitalized form.
Meanwhile, Go also stressed the need to establish by law the Rural
Agricultural and Fisheries Development Financing System to support
agricultural and fisheries sectors in the country, saying that food
security is an integral element of the Philippines’ national security.
Go added that he will continue to enhance the irrigation of farmlands
and expand the National Rice Program, Rice Competitiveness Enhancement
Fund, and other programs for farmers and fisher-folks. He also
emphasized the need to invest heavily in the establishment of regional
and big provincial storage facilities to prevent wastage of farm
He also stressed the need to promote agripreneurship. “Kailangan ang
mindset nila ay hindi lang ang pagiging magsasaka at mangingisda.
Turuan natin sila at iba pang kasapi ng kanilang pamilya sa
pagnenegosyo,” said Go.
“Bigyan natin sila ng dignidad na hindi lang sila pangkaraniwang mga
magsasaka at mangingisda. Gagawin din natin silang mga negosyante. We
must give them free business, skills and technological trainings,” he
Go also emphasized the need to give more incentives to farmers’
children, such as better scholarship grants, to encourage them to
The senator then emphasized the importance of education in the
country’s economy. In line with this, the Duterte Administration,
according to Go, has ensured greater access to quality education and
training through the enactment of RA 10931 or the Universal Access to
Quality Tertiary Education Act.
He noted that an estimated 1.6 million poor Filipino students are now
in school without paying for their tuition and miscellaneous fees
because of the government’s Free Higher Education program.
The senator also cited the need to equip Filipinos with digital
literacy, given the increasing use of the internet in the economy, and
promote youth-entrepreneurship so that students’ business skills will
be polished while they are still young.
In this regard, Go pointed out the need to provide students with better and
easier access to international quality education through the
Transnational Higher Education Act or RA 11448.
“We must continue also to provide technical and vocational education
and skills training, through TESDA-MALASAKIT, especially in the
fields of tourism, agriculture and fisheries, electrical and
electronic, construction and social community development,” added Go.
To conclude, Go reassured the business community that building on the
achievements of the Duterte Administration will be the best approach
to keep the country on course in the face of enormous difficulties.
“Hindi ko hahayaan na masayang lang ang lahat ng pagod at efforts ng
Duterte Administration. Hinding-hindi natin sisirain ang legacy ni
Pangulong Duterte,” said Go.
“Nakita niyo naman po sa loob ng limang taon, tahimik tayong
nagtatrabaho. Hindi po tayo mahilig magpabida. Hintayin niyo na lang
ang resulta. Let my track record speak for itself. I am an action man.
Ang bisyo ko ay magserbisyo,” he ended. (ai/mtvn)