Senator Christopher “Bong” Go reaffirmed, through a video message during his team’s visit in Lemery, Iloilo on Wednesday, August 30, his efforts to improving the lives of Filipinos by providing more livelihood opportunities especially to those adversely affected by various crises.
One of his significant accomplishments in this pursuit is the One Town, One Product (OTOP) Philippines Act, Republic Act No. 11960, legislation aimed at fostering the growth of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) across the nation.
The OTOP Philippines Program, authored and co-sponsored by Go, is a government initiative in which each town or city in the country can harness its unique product or service that reflects its identity, culture, and tradition. By maximizing local resources, the program not only stimulates economic activity but also promotes cultural preservation, underlined Go.
“Ang OTOP Philippines Act ay naglalayong bigyan ng bagong pag-asa at pagkakataon ang ating mga MSMEs o Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises. Sa tulong ng programang ito, ating pinapalakas ang mga lokal na negosyo sa bawat bayan at siyudad sa bansa. Ipinapaabot natin sa kanila ang suporta na kinakailangan nila upang mapanatili ang kanilang operasyon at maabot ang mas malawak na merkado,” explained Go.
“Higit pa sa ekonomiya, ang OTOP Philippines Act ay nagbibigay-pugay sa ating kultura at kasaysayan. Sa bawat produkto na gawa sa ating mga lokal na materyales at kagamitan, ipinapakita natin ang yaman ng ating kultura. Hindi lang tayo nagbibigay buhay sa ating mga negosyo, kundi pati na rin sa ating mga tradisyon,” he highlighted.
Go has also been an advocate for the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Pangkabuhayan sa Pagbangon at Ginhawa (PPG) Program which he pursued during the Duterte administration and continues to support its implementation until now.
It is for this reason that Go’s team, in support of DTI, joined in the provision of livelihood kits for 15 small scale entrepreneurs at the municipal gymnasium in Lemery. The qualified beneficiaries are recovering typhoon victims who were assisted by Go through his earlier relief efforts.
“Sa programang ito, tuturuan ang mga benepisyaryo na magnegosyo at bibigyan ng puhunan para palaguin ito. Masarap sa pakiramdam kapag pinaghirapan at pinagpawisan mo ang iyong negosyo at napalago mo ito. Ang maayos na kabuhayan ang isa sa mga magiging susi sa pagginhawa ng pamumuhay ng iyong pamilya,” Go said.
“Isa itong paraan upang maipakita natin ang ating malasakit sa mga Pilipinong apektado ng iba’t ibang krisis, mula sa nakaraang pandemya hanggang sa mga kasalukuyang kalamidad, at mabigyan sila ng bagong pag-asa na magkaroon ng maayos na kabuhayan,” he added.
Go, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, has also taken proactive steps to extend additional support to individuals grappling with health-related challenges. He has encouraged beneficiaries and their families to take advantage of the Malasakit Centers situated within the province to access medical assistance.
The Malasakit Centers can be conveniently found at various locations in the province: the Don Jose S. Monfort Medical Center Extension Hospital in Barotac Nuevo, the Western Visayas Sanitarium and General Hospital (WVSGH) in Santa Barbara, as well as the West Visayas State University Medical Center and the Western Visayas Medical Center in Iloilo City.
Go is the principal author and advocate behind RA 11463, better known as the Malasakit Centers Act. This legislation has resulted in the establishment of 158 Malasakit Centers and has assisted more than seven million poor and indigent patients nationwide, according to the Department of Health (DOH).
Go also supported the construction of Super Health Centers in the province including one in Lemery. DOH has identified other areas where to establish more Super Health Centers including Iloilo City and the towns of Anilao, Concepcion, Estancia, Carles, Dingle, Guimbal, Janiuay, Igbaras, Lambunao, Maasin, Miag-ao, Oton, Pavia, Pototan, Santa Barbara, Tigbauan, San Joaquin, Sara and Barotac Viejo — the last one’s groundbreaking was attended by Go last June.
“Ang Super Health Center naman ay medium type version ng polyclinic, at improved version ng rural health unit. Sa SHC ay mapagkakalooban ang pasyente ng primary care, konsultasyon at early detection ng kanyang sakit. May 307 na napondohan noong 2022 at 322 naman ngayong taon. Itinatayo ito sa mga strategic areas na natukoy ng DOH,” Go explained.
As vice chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, Go has also supported various infrastructure initiatives to help improve the delivery of basic services in the province, such as the construction of multipurpose buildings in Barotac Viejo, completion of various barangay health stations throughout Iloilo City and the construction of a multipurpose building in the Iloilo City Public Market.
Other major initiatives he supported include the concreting or construction of roads in Badiangan, Banate, Carles, Dumangas, Lemery, Miag-ao, and Sara; completion of the barangay health stations in Leon; construction of a flood control system in Balasan; construction of a seawall in Banate; construction of the legislative building complete with facilities in San Dionisio; and improvement of the public parks in Duenas.
Go also sponsored a law that increased the bed capacity and converted Western Visayas Sanitarium to what is now known as WVSGH, and another to upgrade the Don Jose D. Monfort Medical Center Extension Hospital in Barotac Nuevo into a tertiary hospital known as the Don Jose S. Monfort Medical Center.
On August 14, struggling residents in Janiuay received assistance from Go’s office.
Image credits: Bibo Nueva España/Senate PRIB