MANILA – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Thursday denied his supposed role in the government’s management of donations for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) response.
In a press statement, Go merely dismissed as “utterly false, deliberate misinformation, and black propaganda” the allegations that he is involved in the handling of donations to address Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
“Hindi ko maisip-isip na sa kabila ng kinakaharap natin ngayon, napag-isipan pa ng ilang mga tao na magpakalat ng mga malisyosong kasinungalingan (I cannot fathom why some people chose to spread malicious lies amid problems we are facing today),” Go said.
Go’s statement came following rumors that the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), which manages the donations for Covid-19 response, is raiding private hospitals and confiscating medical supplies to give it to Malasakit Centers.
The Malasakit Centers, he said, merely serve as one-stop shops for all medical and financial assistance to poor indigent patients.
“Wala pong PPEs (personal protective equipment) o medical equipment na dinadala o pinapamigay sa Malasakit Centers (Malasakit Centers do not receive any PPEs or medical equipment),” he said.
He said it is the OCD which solely manages all the donations to the government for Covid-19 efforts.
On March 31, President Rodrigo Duterte inked Administrative Order 27, which directs that donated medicine and medical supplies to curb Covid-19 spread should be coordinated with and transmitted to OCD for consolidation.
Go said he never interfered in OCD when it comes to the handling of donations.
“Based on my understanding of the Administrative Order released by the Office of the President, this does not prevent others from donating to any institution directly if they wish to do so. It also states that the OCD simply consolidates all efforts of both government and the private sector to instill order and accountability in handling and distributing donations,” he said.
He added that his office only acts as a “bridge” to connect the private sector to the right agencies to address their concerns.
“At the same time, we also help those asking for assistance by connecting them to the appropriate public or private entities that can respond to their needs,” Go said.
In a separate statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo branded as “false information” the claims against Go that are currently circulating on social media.
Panelo said Go has “no access” to OCD.
“The spread of these fake information is malicious and obviously done by the negative forces and detractors of the Duterte Administration and its allies, designed to create confusion and foment hate against the government,” he said.
Go said critics should help the government in its battle against Covid-19, instead of spreading fake news.
“Gamitin n’yo nalang sana ang oras ninyo para tumulong at magmalasakit. Huwag ninyo sayangin sa pagkalat ng kasinungalingan o sa panloloko ng mga tao. Huwag kayo gumawa ng problema at dumagdag sa pasakit ng bayan (Just use your time to help others. Do not waste your time spreading lies and deceiving people. Do not create problem and add to the plight of the nation),” he said.
Panelo encouraged the public to be circumspect in reading text messages or social media posts.
He said persons who are re-posting or spreading fake news make them similarly liable for transgression of the law.
“Let us all unite, not only in action and prayers in defeating this faceless enemy, but also in nipping in the bud any false news or bogus narrative from spreading,” Panelo said. (PNA)