Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said more government funds should be utilized for increased protection of the frontliners, particularly nurses, doctors, health workers as well as uniformed personnel, like the police and the military who continue to fulfill their duties despite the risks brought by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“Let us use available funds to protect and care for our health workers, doctors, nurses and other frontliners like the police and military,” Go appealed to his fellow Senators in his co-sponsorship speech at the special session of the Senate on Senate Bill (SB) No. 1418 or the proposed “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act”.
“Let us use the funds for PPEs (personal protective equipment), hazard pay, and for their foods,” he said.
He explained that SB 1418, originally authored by Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senator Pia Cayetano, “aims to empower and give the government the flexibility it needs to address the present health emergency” and “seeks to grant authority to the President to do what may be deemed necessary in accordance with the law to fund measures to address and respond to the threats of COVID-19 and the economic impact that comes with it.”
Go recognized the essential roles of frontliners in the implementation of the community quarantine.
“We commend all our frontliners—health workers, doctors and nurses—who have sacrificed their lives to save their fellow Filipinos. Kayo ang mga bayani sa giyera na ito,” he said.
“To the police and military, I commend you for your patience and hard work; and for always being ready to protect and serve our people. We are facing trying times, so please exercise maximum tolerance,” Go said.
“And, of course, sa mga LGUs, governors, vice governors, mayors, vice mayors, barangay officials na nag-aasikaso sa kanilang mga constituents,” Go said.
Go emphasized that the priority now is to be able to provide immediate healthcare needs to solve the health problem and defeat the virus and, at the same time, to provide cash and food assistance to those who are affected the most in this crisis
He also urged the Department of Health (DOH) to address immediate concerns of the health sector when it comes to much needed support from government in equipping and capacitating health institutions so they can be more responsive to the needs of constituents amid the growing threats of COVID-19.
Go emphasized the need to prepare other health institutions outside Luzon to make sure they are capable of responding to the possible further spread of the virus./Stacy Ang