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Bong Go gives ‘very good’ rate on PH’s COVID response

 By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Manila Bulletin

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Wednesday gave a “very good” rating on the Philippines’ response against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Serving as the current Senate Health and Demography Committee Chairperson, Go warned against complacency as Filipinos are now waiting for the national vaccination program implementation.

During the 100th Malasakit Center launch at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Muntinlupa City, Go said the government was doing all of its best to fight against the infectious disease.

He also concurred with the World Health Organization over the “very good” rating.

“Alam naman natin na ginagawa po ni Pangulong Duterte at ng Executive Department, including ang ating health officials (and experts), mga kapulisan at mga militar ang lahat para labanan itong COVID-19. Ako po ay naniniwala sa sinabi ng WHO na very good po ang ating response, ang ating gobyerno,” Go said.

However, Go warned the public against being complacent as the pandemic crisis is not yet over.

“Ngunit huwag po tayong magkumpiyansa. Hindi pa po natatapos ang laban natin sa COVID-19. Hopefully, matapos na po itong pandemyang ito. Nakikita naman namin na sa susunod na taon ay unti-unti na tayong mag-a-adjust,” he said.

“Kaya sumunod muna tayo sa gobyerno. Mag-social distancing, hugas ng kamay, mask at face shield. Sa mga matitigas na ulong mga Pilipino, nakikiusap kami sa inyo. Sa ngayon naman po marami ang mga sumusunod, sa pag-iikot ko po marami ang naka-mask. Gusto pa pong humaba ang kanilang buhay. ‘Yun namang iba ayaw mag-mask, ‘yun po ang mga nagmamadali po,” Go added.

The lawmaker said he would support the provision of additional budget to finance the genome sequencing for the detection of new coronavirus variants.

“Nakausap ko kanina si Secretary (Francisco) Duque kung kakailanganin nila ng pondo para sa genome sequencing. Hindi naman natin akalain na may darating na bagong UK variant at hindi po ito kasali sa budget ng 2021 itong mga testing na ito,” Go said.

“Ako po, bilang Committee chair (ng Senate Committee on Health), ay handa akong makiusap sa ating mahal na Pangulo na ngayong taon ay malagyan na ito ng pondo. Kakausapin ko rin si Secretary (Wendel) Avisado ng DBM (Department of Budget and Management) dahil hindi na po ito makaaantay ng 2022,” the Senator added.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier said the proposed additional P362 million budget was consolidated requirements from the Philippine Genome Center (PGC), the University of the Philippines – National Institutes for Health (UP-NIH), and the RITM.

Go said the budget might be sourced from the contingency funds.

“Sa ngayon po dahil kapos pa po ang budget natin ngayong 2021, ang Executive Department, pwede nilang gawan ‘yan ng paraan sa contingency fund ng ating mahal na Pangulo,” Go said.

“Nandito po ako, handa po akong tumulong at makipag-usap kay Pangulong Duterte upang mabigyan kaagad sila ng pondo para maumpisahan na agad ang testing sa bagong variant,” the lawmaker added.


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