Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” shared his optimism that President Rodrigo Duterte’s fifth State of the Nation Address this coming Monday, July 27, will bring hope of a better future for Filipinos despite the ongoing challenges the country is facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Senator said that he is also expecting the President to provide concrete plans and proposed legislative measures to strengthen the government’s efforts to overcome the ongoing crisis and steer the country towards socio-economic recovery.

“I am expecting that the President will focus his 5th SONA on measures (1) to strengthen our fight against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, (2) to address the needs of the people to overcome the hardships that the crisis has caused in everyone’s lives, and also, (3) to sustain the gains of the Duterte Administration’s promise of a comfortable life for all despite the challenges that we are facing,” said Go in a statement.

“Our goal now is not only to adapt to the ‘new normal’, but to lead our country towards a ‘better normal’ and better quality of life,” he added.

As Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, Go is confident that primary importance will be placed on measures ramping up the healthcare system’s capacity at all levels.

“Aside from enhancing our overall capacity to Test, Trace and Treat COVID-19 cases, I am hoping that he will also prioritize improving the capacities and capabilities of public hospitals, establishing mandatory quarantine facilities and evacuation centers, strengthening our health workforce, promoting the welfare and well-being of our medical frontliners, and preparing a national vaccine program for COVID-19 in anticipation of its availability to ensure that Filipinos can have access to it,” Go said.

With this, Go expects to see more of health-related bills to be prioritized as both Houses of Congress are set to open their second regular session of the 18th Congress next week. Recently, Go also called for the development of a national vaccine program for the strategic allocation of the COVID-19 vaccine to the general population in anticipation of possible challenges once the vaccine is made available.

“Kapag dumating ang panahon na mayroon nang vaccine at gamot laban sa COVID-19, dapat handa tayo na mabigyan ang lahat ng Pilipinong nangangailangan nito, mahirap man o mayaman,” Go said previously.

Go also said he expects the President will shed a spotlight on key economic responses to mitigate the human and economic impact of the pandemic.

“Pangalawa, bibigyang pansin rin n’ya ang mga pangangailangan ng mga ordinaryong mamamayan na hirap na hirap na sa sitwasyon ngayon. Kasama na dyan ang pagpapabuti ng mga government assistance programs for the poor, livelihood opportunities for displaced workers, and stimulus programs to jumpstart the economy,” Go said.

“Dahil apektado ang lahat ng sektor ng lipunan dahil sa pandemya, prayoridad rin ng Pangulo na siguraduhing hindi tumigil ang serbisyong dapat natatanggap ng mga tao,” he added.

Go also said that efficient, effective and responsive government service delivery must be sustained despite the ordeal in order for citizens to continue to develop and for the businesses to help jumpstart the economy.

“Kasama dito ang mga plano kung paano makapagpapatuloy ang pag-aaral ng mga bata, ang kabuhayan ng mga nawalan ng trabaho, ang pag-alaga sa ating nga OFWs at ang pagbibigay ng pang-araw-araw na serbisyo ng gobyerno sa ligtas na paraan,” he said.

Despite the challenges faced this year, Go expects the Duterte administration to continue working hard in order to fulfill its promise of a comfortable life for all Filipinos.

“Inaasahan kong sisiguraduhin rin ng Pangulo na hindi mapapabayaan ang mga naunang mga prayoridad sa kanyang termino, tulad ng Build Build Build Projects at iba pang programa na naglalayong mabigyan ng komportable at ligtas na buhay ang lahat ng Pilipino. Kasama na diyan ang patuloy na laban kontra iligal na droga, ang seguridad at kapayapaan sa loob at labas ng bansa, at pagpapalakas ng ating disaster resiliency efforts,” he stressed.

As the Duterte administration enters the latter part of its term, Go said that the President remains determined in improving the lives of Filipinos by consistently pushing for development in all parts of the country and by continuously aiming to bring government services closer to the people.

“Dahil sa epekto rin ng pandemya, may mga inisyatibo ang Pangulo tulad ng Balik Probinsya Program na magbibigay ng bagong pag-asa at mas magandang buhay sa mga Pilipino kung pipiliin nilang manirahan sa kanilang mga probinsya,” he said.

“Kasama rin sa layunin nating mailapit ang gobyerno sa tao, mapabilis ang pagbigay tulong, mabawasan ang red tape, at maitigil ang korapsyon, naniniwala akong bibigyang pansin rin niya ang rekomendasyon ko na gawing prayoridad ang transition to E-governance,” he added.

Go also expressed his faith that the country will bounce back from this crisis with a deeper commitment of improving the lives of fellow Filipinos.

“Malayo na ang ating narating mula nang umupo si Pangulong Duterte. Bagama’t patuloy ang mga pagsubok na ating hinaharap, hinuhubog rin nito ang ating kakayahan at pagkatao upang mas makapagserbisyo pa lalo sa ating kapwa tungo sa tunay na pagbabago,” he said.

“Ako naman po, uunahin ko palagi ang interes, kapakanan, at buhay ng mga ordinaryong mamamayan na pinagsisilbihan ko. Patuloy ko rin pong susuportahan ang mga mithiin at mga ipinaglalaban ni Pangulong Duterte para mabigyan ng mas maayos na kinabukasan ang bawat Pilipino,” he ended.

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