‘Community initiatives most welcome, but health protocols must be in place’, says Bong Go as he calls for whole-of-nation approach to protect Filipinos from COVID-19 and hunger
Senator and Chair of the Senate Committee on Health Christopher “Bong” Go urged the Filipino public to work in tandem with the government in helping support the marginalized sectors of society who have been disproportionately hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Not only do we welcome and commend these efforts, we also agreed to encourage all government workers, including AFP and PNP personnel, to participate and show utmost support to community-driven initiatives aimed at helping Filipinos cope with the ongoing pandemic,” he earlier said.
In particular, he expressed support for community-based, private sector-driven initiatives working to complement or fill in the gaps of ongoing government efforts to combat both the COVID-19 pandemic and its socio-economic impact resulting in poverty and hunger.
“Maganda po ang intensyon ng mga inisyatibong ito. Ngunit mas maganda kung masisiguro natin na nasusunod ang health guidelines ng gobyerno para hindi po maging sanhi ang mga ito ng pagkalat ng Covid-19,” he said.
He, however, stressed the importance of cooperating with authorities and abiding by the necessary health and safety protocols in order to ensure that the goals of such activities are met while the rights and welfare of the general population are equally protected.
“Pinoproteksyunan po ng gobyerno ang karapatan ninyo na magsagawa ng sarili ninyong inisyatibo para makatulong sa inyong komunidad. Pero intindihin rin sana natin na ginagampanan rin ng gobyerno ang kanyang tungkulin, ayon sa ating mga batas, na proteksyunan rin ang bawat tao mula sa kapahamakan dahil bawat buhay ng Pilipino ay importante sa labang ito,” Go said.
Go underscored the need for unity among the Filipino people in cooperation with the government. He warned that any success or failure on the part of government or the private sector cannot be mutually exclusive since both involve the welfare and well-being of the whole population.
“Hindi po ito panahon para magsisihan, magsiraan, o maglamangan pa. Panahon po ito ng pagtutulungan, pagmamalasakit, at pakikiisa sa bayanihan,” he reminded.
In an earlier statement, the Senator encouraged those with the means to contribute their resources, know-how and time to help out members of their community.
“Ang mga inisyatibo, tulad ng community pantry, ay patunay na nananatiling buhay ang diwa ng bayanihan sa kabila ng sunud-sunod na mga pagsubok na dumadating sa bansa. Tama lang na magbigay ng tulong, ayon sa kakayanan. Huwag lang sana ito gamitin para manira ng kapwa ninyong walang ibang hangarin kundi magserbisyo rin tulad ninyo,” stated Go.
“Walang kulay, walang pinipili, at walang pulitika dapat ang pagtulong. Welcome po lahat ‘yan. Kahit anumang kulay — pula, puti, dilaw, asul — lahat ‘yan ay may parte sa bayanihan,” he added.
In light of the death of a senior citizen after losing consciousness at a community pantry in Quezon City on April 23, Friday, and the reported violations of health guidelines in some of these activities, Go called for better coordination between law enforcers and organizers to ensure the safety of the community.
Go clarified that the involvement of law enforcers is not meant to impede the operations of the private initiatives but to, instead, ensure order so they can attain their intended outcome.