Tue. Oct 26th, 2021

The proposed budgets of the Office of the President (OP) and the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) for 2022 that were approved at the Senate committee level manifests President Rodrigo Duterte’s commitment to deliver promised reforms

Senator Bong Go preaides over the budget hearing of the Office of the President. September 11, 2019. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, the vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, expressed his support for the proposed 2022 OP and PMS budgets, which will ensure the effective implementation of the presidential programs and management of all national security matters.

In a speech delivered at the hearing of the Finance Subcommittee “A”, Go said he is confident that the offices will use the funds prudently. The hearing was presided by Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara on Wednesday.

“First of all, allow me to congratulate this administration, led by President Rodrigo Duterte, for leading us in a path of reform in the past five years. It was a difficult task but all it takes is political will from a leader to accomplish the mission of providing better services to Filipinos, and combating criminality, illegal drugs and corruption,” he said.

The Senator also hailed the administration’s commitment to deliver on its promise of providing a more comfortable life for all Filipinos. In terms of infrastructure, he lauded the completion of 29,264 kilometers of roads, 5,950 bridges, and 451 seaport and 214 airport projects as of June 2021.

Support for agriculture, education

He also noted its support for agriculture through the distribution of 229,289 hectares of land and support of 937,040 farmers under the Free Irrigation Act, one of Duterte’s campaign promises in 2016.

Go added that access to education has considerably grown, with around 1.62 million students benefiting from free education and 150,149 classrooms completed as of June. Following the disruptions caused by Covid-19, he welcomed the administration’s efforts to help children safely return to school through a pilot test for face-to-face classes in some 120 schools.

In the campaign against criminality and illegal drugs, the Senator praised Duterte for the dramatic 64-percent decline in crimes nationwide from July 2016 to June 2021. As of May 2021, a total of 203,715 operations have been conducted which have resulted in the seizure of an estimated P60 billion worth of illegal drugs, arrest of 12,356 high-value targets and surrender of 1.22 million drug users.

“What you have witnessed is Duterte is really serious in his campaign against illegal drugs. We all know that many people were affected by illegal drugs,” Go added in Filipino.

And as chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Go lauded the efforts to expand access to quality, affordable healthcare services through the establishment of 141 Malasakit Centers, which have assisted over two million poor and indigent patients nationwide. The program was institutionalized under the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019 that Go authored and sponsored.

On this note, he called on the administration to continue its efforts to boost the country’s vaccination rates. A total of 42.1 million individuals have already been vaccinated, with 23.1 million getting their first dose and 19 million two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.

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