Go’s priorities: Teachers’ pay hike, free housing

Ex-SAP Bong Go speaks at the 6th Batch of Educational Assistance and Health Card Assistance 2018 at the Ramon Magsaysay Cubao High School sa Barangay Pinagkaisahan, Quezon City on 17 November. (Facebook image)

Newly-elected Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go today laid down his priority bills once he assumes office, topmost of which is to raise the salary for teachers.

Go bared his plans amid the implementation of the fourth and final tranche of their compensation adjustment.

Aside from the public school teachers, Go is also looking into the increase of salary of all civilian state personnel in consonance with the principle of equal pay for work of equal value and to attract and retain competent and committed civil servants.

“No one should be left behind. Dapat holistic approach, kasama rin ang iba pang manggagawa sa gobyerno. Alagaan natin ang mga ordinaryong kawani ng bayan,” Go said.

Go will also push for measures to address the problems of informal settlers and provide affordable houses for all, especially the poor and homeless.

“Kailangan din nating mas lalong pagbutihin ang ating mga programa para sa mga nangangailangan ng mura at disenteng bahay. We need a long-term affordable housing program,” he said.

Go stressed that forms of housing intervention nationwide should be pursued so that each Filipino family will have roofs over their heads.

“Isa ito sa gusto kong pagaralan at isulong upang matugunan natin ang 6.5-milyong kakulangan sa pabahay. Wala na dapat squatter sa sarili nating bayan,” he said.

Go also supports the creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience to scale up the country’s resiliency and preparedness when it comes to natural calamities and man-made disasters.

“Dahil sa patuloy at tumitinding pananalasa ng iba’t ibang mga kalamidad at sakuna, kinakailangang magkaroon ng sariling departamento na tututok sa disaster risk reduction management. Ilagay natin sa isang departamento lang ang lahat ng mga may kaugnayang ahensya, katulad ng Office of Civil Defense, PAGASA, PHIVOLCS, etc.,” he stated.

Likewise, Go wants the establishment of more Malasakit Centers in provinces and strategic urban centers and allow its continuity even after the term of President Duterte.

The Malasakit Center is a continuing program of the administration seeking to make it easier and faster for indigent patients to avail of medical and financial assistance from the government by bringing together all concerned agencies such as the DOH, DSWD, PCSO, and PhilHealth.

The creation of the Department of OFWs is also among Go’s priorities. The proposed department will serve as a one-stop-shop in providing legal assistance for OFWs in distress; arrange a full migration cycle approach in promoting migrant’s rights from pre-employment as well as onsite and reintegration services; and launch a shared database system that contains important information of all OFWs to aid in tracking their status and delivery of assistance to distressed workers.

He is also planning to extend the term of incumbent barangay officials, whose terms were cut short due to the postponement of the previous barangay elections. For Go, two years are not enough to complete their programs.

“Kapag nagbukas ang Kongreso, ‘yan ang isa sa mga una nating isusulong dahil kulang ang two years nila para gawin ang programa sa kanilang barangay. Hindi naman nila kasalanan na maikli ang termino nila. Dapat lang na ma-extend para maisulong ang mga proyekto nila,” Go said.

Other priorities under Go’s legislative agenda include programs for agriculture, long-term sports development, fire protection and prevention, localized peace talks, barangay welfare, and improved benefits for senior citizens.

Go is looking forward to the monthly mini-Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) meetings to facilitate the passage of key measures that may be considered priorities by Congress and the administration. Senate President Tito Sotto is also in support of the monthly mini-LEDACs.

Sotto believes that if Senate and House leaders could meet once a month and discuss their priority bills, approval of proposed laws would be easier.