Duterte fetes Bong Go, Cabinet members

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has conferred the Order of Lakandula with the rank of Grand Cross on his aide, Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, for his contributions to nation-building and in helping achieve the goals of the administration in the last six years.

The Order of Lakandula was created by virtue of Executive Order 236 issued by then president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2003. The award is given to an individual who has devoted his life to the peaceful resolution of conflict and/or whose life is worthy of emulation by the Filipino people.

Go was also awarded with the Order of Lapu-Lapu with the rank of Magalong. The award is given to government officials or personnel and private individuals who have rendered “extraordinary service or have made exceptional contributions to the success of an activity pursuant to a campaign or advocacy of the President.”

The senator said he did not expect to receive the awards, but is honored to be recognized for the work he has done to help the President. He went on to say that helping his fellow Filipinos and seeing them overcome difficulties is enough reward for him.

Aside from the senator, other recipients are members of the Cabinet, including Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Senator-elect Mark Villar, Presidential Adviser Vivencio Dizon, Health Secretary Francisco Duque 3rd, former Cabinet secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Education Secretary Leonor Briones, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, Presidential Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon and Communications Secretary Martin Andanar.

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Go, who was a special assistant to the President before getting elected as senator, was one of the co-authors of the bill that became Republic Act 11469, or the “Bayanihan to Heal As One Act,” which sought to empower and provide the government the flexibility it needed to deal with the public health crisis.

The longtime aide of the President also pressed for the passage of RA 11494 or the “Bayanihan to Recover As One Act,” which sought to finance various programs of the government, such as the improvement of the health care system, implementation of a cash-for-work program, assistance to industries affected by the pandemic especially the agriculture sector and the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines, among other interventions.

In the wake of the public health crisis, Go also successfully urged the administration to provide all the support possible for vulnerable sectors, particularly financial assistance to small business employees affected by the pandemic through the Small Business Wage Subsidy program.

He, likewise, made a personal appeal to the Government Service Insurance System to waive penalties for delayed remittances, release pensions early and grant emergency loans to Filipino retirees.

The senator also pressed the administration for a one-time financial aid to be granted to local government units to help localities cope with the growing needs of their constituents during the pandemic.

Go was also active in addressing the plight of locally stranded individuals due to the quarantine measures at the height of the pandemic. Additionally, his office also assisted private donors in determining and distributing donations and assistance to hospital beneficiaries.

Go then expressed his gratitude to President Duterte and the Filipino people for entrusting him with the honor, saying that he would never tire of serving them for the country’s betterment.

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