The people of Nueva Ecija on Thursday welcomed with open arms their adopted son, former Special Assistant to the President and 2019 senatorial candidate Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, on his return to the province.
It could be recalled that last January 14, 2019 the provincial board adopted a resolution declaring Go as an adopted son of the province, citing his work as former special assistant of President Rodrigo Duterte, his role in bringing the concerns of the people to the Chief Executive and his continued support of the province.
Go started his day in Nueva Ecija meeting local farmers and sharing a meal with them in a “boodle fight,” also taking the opportunity to listen to their concerns. He then went around the cities of Gapan and Cabatanuan, met in many places by cheering residents out in the streets, chanting his name.
“Nagpapasalamat po ako dahil isa akong adopted son ng Nueva Ecija. Maraming salamat po sa mga taga-Nueva Ecija sa napakainit na pagtanggap ninyo sa akin, sing-init ng panahon ngayon. Napakataas ng temperatura dito sa Nueva Ecija subalit sa sobrang init ng pagtanggap nila sa akin nakakawala ng pagod at masaya po ako na napapangiti natin sila,” Go said in an ambush interview.
Go assured the people of the province, considered as the “Rice Granary of the Philippines” that agriculture is among the top priorities under his legislative agenda and that he would support all government programs that would not only promote agriculture but also uplift the lives of farmers.
“Gagawin po namin lahat ni Pangulong Duterte in the next three years po kung anong maitutulong namin dito. Especially kanina marami pong mga hinaing ang ating mga farmers dito, (kabilang na )yung patubig. Sabi ko hindi ko po kayo pabababayaan,” Go said.
“Isa po sa aking priority ang agriculture at itong free irrigation program naman po ni Pangulong Duterte ay tuloy-tuloy po ito at susuportahan ko po ito,” he added.
Among others, Go said he would look for means to help provide alternative sources of water for farmers and conduct extensive consultation as well as information dissemination to the people of the province on the status of irrigation projects in the area.
He added that proper consultation and information dissemination are important to ensure that their concerns are properly addressed and they are informed of the governments projects available for them to benefit from.
Go had earlier called for pro-active measures to mitigate the effects of perennial El Niño phenomenon not only through expanded irrigation services but also the conduct of cloud-seeding operations.
The former SAP also said he would look into the concerns the farmers have referred to him.
“May ibinigay po silang sulat at isa po siguro ito sa pag-aaralan natin kung papano nga natin sila matutulungan. Marami po silang inabot na sulat sa akin .…Ang ibinigay kong assurance sa kanila ay ang interest nila ay uunahin po namin ni Pangulong Duterte,” Go said.
As part of his legislative agenda for agriculture, Go is pushing for improved government support for farmers including access to cheaper fertilizers, climate-resistant seeds, as well as low-interest credit facilities through a simplified process.
He is also proposing to conduct agri-entrepreneurship skills training for farmers and their families to open opportunities for additional livelihood instead of relying mostly on farming.
“So rest assured po in the next three years, (kayong) mga farmers po dito sa Nueva Ecija, ako po ang patuloy ninyong magiging tulay kay Pangulong Duterte at marami po akong isusulong na batas sa kapakanan po ng ating mga farmers,” Go said.
Specifically, Go said he would support infrastructure programs of the administration that would be beneficial to the agriculture sector and the farmers not only in Nueva Ecija but in adjacent provinces.
Among others, Go cited the Lower Agno River Irrigation System Improvement Project, a P46-million diversion-type irrigation dam meant to improve delivery of water supply, increase agricultural productivity and farmer’s income and generate employment in the region. Notice to proceed for the project was issued last August 2018.
“Andyan din po ang Dalton Pass East Alignment Alternative Road Project na magdudugtong sa Nueva Ecija at Nueva Vizcaya para mapabilis ang biyahe ninyo at ang pagdadala ng mga produkto,” Go pointed out.
The P4.7-billion project, which calls for the construction of a 60-kilometer bypass road network connecting the two provinces, is expected to be completed by 2025.
Go also pointed to the Central Luzon Link Expressway, a P14.9-million project for a four-lane, 30-kilometer expressway connecting Tarlac and Cabanatuan City, meant to shorten travel time between the two cities from 1 hour and 10 minutes to just 20 minutes. It is expected to be finished by 2020.
The former SAP noted that Nueva Ecija has already benefitted from various projects of the Duterte administration, including the construction and concreting of several farm-to-market roads, and deep-well water system, and the construction of several government buildings.
Go also assured the people of Nueva Ecija of his firm commitment to support President Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs, criminality and corruption.
“Ipagpapatuloy ko po ang mga pagbabagong nasimulan ni Pangulong Duterte, lalong-lalo na po yung kampanya laban sa corruption, kampanya laban sa kriminalidad, at kampanya laban sa iligal na droga,” Go said.
In addition, Go said that part of his legislative agenda is the effort to improve the delivery of health services in the country, particularly through the establishment of Malasakit Center.
A program of the Duterte administration based on Go’s idea, the Malasakit Center makes it easier and faster for poor patients to avail of medical and financial assistance from the government by bringing together in one room concerned agencies such as DOH, DSWD, PCSO and Philhealth.
“Mayroon na po tayong 34 na Malasakit Center sa buong bansa at isa ay nandito sa Nueva Ecija. Gusto ko sanang maisabatas ito para tuloy-tuloy ang programa kahit hindi na pangulo si Pangulong Duterte at madagdagan pa ang ating mga Malasakit Center sa ibang lugar sa Pilipinas,” Go said.
Other priority concerns Go have identified to be part of his legislative agenda for the Senate include housing for the poor, education, long-term sports development, fire protection and prevention, barangay welfare, creation of a Department of OFW and improved benefits for senior citizens.
The former SAP said he is ready to serve the Filipinos the way he served President Duterte for over 21 years.
“Ang bisyo ko po magserbisyo. Naniniwala ako na ang serbisyo sa tao, serbisyo sa Diyos. Wala po kaming ibang hangarin ni Pangulong Duterte kundi kabutihan ng bawat Pilipino dahil mahal namin kayo,” he said.
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