Senator Christopher “Bong” Go strongly condemned fake news reports alleging he made the personnel of the Philippine Air Force wait for him before they could be transferred to a hospital after their helicopter crashed off the coast of Getafe in Bohol on Tuesday, April 27.
“Huwag nating hayaan manaig ang may maitim na budhi at mayroong masamang saloobin,” Go warned appealing to the public to remain vigilant of fake news and focus instead on helping their fellow Filipinos, before reassuring them of his and the President’s continuing efforts to serve the nation during the COVID-19 crisis.
“Kami ni Pangulong Duterte, araw-araw kaming magseserbisyo sa aming kapwa Pilipino. Ako, 24/7 akong magmamalasakit at tutulong sa kapwa ko Pilipino.”he said.
Go earlier clarified that he and his staff, who were in Cebu for the 500th anniversary of the Victory of Mactan, were preparing for their return flight to Metro Manila when they chanced upon the survivors at the Mactan Airbase in Lapu-Lapu City.
“Noong Martes, matapos ang aming meeting kasama ang Anti-COVID Task Force ng Cebu at bago lumipad pabalik ng Maynila, sinabihan ako na mayroong military helicopter na bumagsak sa Bohol. Nagkataon na kakarating lang ng ambulansya sakay ang mga biktimang (taga) Air Force malapit sa kung saan ako nasa airport,” Go said in a statement issued on Friday, April 30.
“Tumakbo agad ako papunta kung nasaan ang mga ambulansya para lang i-assure ang mga biktima na hindi sila pababayaan ni Pangulong [Rodrigo] Duterte. Sinabi ko na sasagutin ang kanilang pampapagamot at inatasan ko ang aking staff na siguraduhing makapagbigay ng tulong pinansyal sa tatlong injured at sa asawa ng namatay na piloto,” he continued.
The Senator added the interaction happened quickly and the victims were soon brought via ambulance to the Allegiant Regional Care Hospital and Mactan-Benito Ebuen Airbase Hospital in the said city.
“Napakabilis lang ng aming interaksyon dahil ayokong makasagabal sa kanila at para madala na sila agad sa ospital,” said Go.
“Fake news ang kumakalat na pinaghintay sila. Kahit tanungin niyo po ang Air Force personnel na nandodoon. Huwag ninyong baluktutin ang pangyayari dahil sa pagnanais naming makatulong sa ating kasundaluhan na nagbubuwis ng buhay para sa bayan,” he appealed.
Go’s description of the events was corroborated in a separate statement by Colonel Antonio Francisco, chief of command staff of the PAF’s Air Mobility Command, who was with the Senator at the time.
“Sabi niya ‘pwede ba akong lumapit, pwede ko bang tingnan ‘yung mga pasyente?’ Sabi ko, ‘sir, wala namang problema’. At that very instant, very instantaneous, tumakbo na siya doon sa ambulance. So, ako naman nagulat ako, hinabol ko siya. During these very challenging times sa ating bansa, siguro maganda nalang ‘yung magtulungan tayo. Kung may maganda tayong ginagawa, ‘wag na natin hanapan ng masama pa,” said Col. Francisco.
Based on official reports, the PAF helicopter crashed after running into turbulence during a routine maintenance flight. The pilot, identified as Captain Aurelios Olano, died while the remaining three personnel were hurt. The rescued PAF personnel were first taken to the President Carlos P. Garcia Memorial Hospital in Talibon, Bohol before being transferred to Cebu.
All injured personnel are out of danger now and recuperating, as per the latest government update.
Following the incident, the Senator’s office provided financial assistance to the survivors and wife of the lone victim who died. Meanwhile, the Office of the President also extended separate aid. Go committed to provide further assistance if necessary to ensure the survivors’ full recovery and well-being.
“Kasalukuyang binabantayan namin ang kanilang kalagayan para masigurong gumaling sila agad. Anumang kailangan pa nila ay handa kaming tumulong,” he reassured.