Former Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Sunday evening vowed to promote and protect the welfare of farmers.
Among others, Go said the government could provide pension for old farmers who could no longer till the land because of their advanced age, which could be funded by the tariffs collected from imported agricultural products.
“Dapat na may pondo ang gobyerno para sa pension ng mga magsasakang hindi na makapagtrabaho dahil sa katandaan,” Go said at the New Civic Center of Barangay Pauli II at the 100th founding anniversary celebration of this town.
Go, a candidate for senator in the 2019 elections, also bared his other plans to improve farm productivity to uplift the lives of the farmers and ensure food security in the country. Among these is expanding the scope of the non-traditional stores that the Department of Agriculture opened last year.
“I will help the government establish TienDA Malasakit Stores in different parts of the country,” Go said. “Through these stores, farmers can directly sell their goods to consumers.”
In addition, Go said he wants to provide capability-enhancing programs for farmers and scholarship grants for their children.
“I’d like to provide farmers easy access to farm inputs, such as machinery, fertilizers, seeds, irrigation, and low-interest credit. I’d also like to provide our farmers with free business and skills training,” Go added.
“Nais ko bigyan ng gobyerno ng scholarship grants at iba pang benefits ang mga anak ng magsasaka upang ma-engganyo silang mag-aral ng agrikultura at makatulong sa pagsiguro ng food supply ng bansa.”
Go said that it is important to instill to our youth that being part of the agriculture sector is an honorable and promising source of livelihood.
“Ibalik natin ang dignidad ng pagsasaka, huwag natin maliitin, at bigyan natin ng prayoridad para maenganyo ang kabataan na aralin at pasukin ito,” he added.
Go told the people that the programs he enumerated will not remain plans. “Like President Duterte, I’m a man of action,” he said. He then cited the infrastructure projects of the administration as proof.
“Nakikita naman ninyo lahat na nagiging mas maayos at maunlad na ang ating bansa. Ang Build Build Build program ang isa sa mga ipinapatupad ng pamahalaan, at isa sa mga proyekto sa ilalim ng programa ang Cavite-Laguna Expressway,” he said.
The Build Build Build program of the Duterte administration aims to improve the infrastructure of the country particularly means of transportation to bring in economic development in the countryside.
“Dahil sa daang ito, lalago ang kalakalan hindi lang sa mga bayang madadaanan ng kalsada kundi sa buong CALABARZON,” he said.
Go also noted that the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte has approved several national projects in the area, including the construction of an elementary school with funding of P150 million.
“Asahan nyo po sa susunod na taon ako po ang magiging tulay ninyo kay Presidente para dito sa inyong lugar. Ako rin ang magiging boses niyo para masolusyunan ang mga problema sa inyong lokalidad,” Go said.
“Trabaho lang po kami ni Pangulong Duterte. Katulad ni Gat Jose Rizal, dapat pinagsasabay ang talino at habag o malasakit. As President Duterte always says, it is by having a genuine concern for our kababayans that we can truly show the goodness of our character, just like our national hero Jose Rizal,” he added.
Meanwhile, Go also bared plans for the establishment of a Malasakit Center to serve the people of Laguna province in about a couple of months.
“Meron na po tayong 18 Malasakit Centers all over the country right now. Magkakaroon din po kayo dito sa probinsya ng Malasakit Center sa susunod na dalawang buwan po,” Go said.
Go hit on the idea of the center from his almost two decades of experience attending to the people who sought medical assistance from then Davao Mayor Duterte.
“Hindi po dapat pinahihirapan ang mga maysakit. Bukas po para sa lahat ng Pilipino ang Malasakit center para sa pangangailangan nilang medikal. Pera po ninyo iyan, ibinabalik lang namin sa inyo,” he said.
A Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop housing all concerned government agencies including the DOH, DSWD, PAGCOR, PCSO, and Philhealth in one room to make it easier and faster for indigent and disadvantaged patients to avail of the government’s medical and financial assistance.