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Philippine's Go Pushes for Food Security, Agri-Fisheries Development

LIAN, Batangas -- Former Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Thursday pushed for legislation focused on food security and agricultural development in the country as his priority legislative agenda when elected to the Senate.

“Alam ninyo kulang na nga po ang supply natin sa isda sa ngayon. Yun po ang ating tututukan, tulungan ang mga mangingisda natin. Mga abono natin sa mga farmers, mahal. Tutukan ko po ito na meron tayong enough supply na pagkain (You know, we have insufficient supply of fish these days. That’s what I would like to focus on, to help our fisherfolks. Our fertilizers for the farmers are also expensive. I have to prioritize these to ensure we have enough food supply),” he said during a media interview.

Go was in town to grace the twin celebrations of the town’s 104th foundation anniversary and 74th Liberation Day, which was declared a non-working holiday by the local government here.

The scarcity of basic food commodities is a vital concern nowadays, he said, calling for food security programs to ensure enough supply of cheap and affordable food for Filipinos.

Go pointed out that concerns like the reported fish kill phenomenon and scarcity of the endemic “tawilis” fish at the Taal Lake Protected Landscape have to be addressed.

“Yon po ang aking tutukan at proteksiyonan natin ang mga ganitong bagay. Food security talaga importante, enough supply. Huwag kayong mag-alala kasi part of my 12-point agenda is food security at nakatutuok talaga ako diyan (These concerns are things I am focusing on. Food security is really important, to ensure enough supply. Don’t worry because this food security is part of my 12-point agenda, and I am really prioritizing this),” he said.

His visit here augurs well for Batangueños who have sought both local and national government intervention on the reported depletion of the “tawilis”, and the sighted “fish kill” that are yearly natural phenomena at the Taal Lake between November and February.

Go said he will coordinate with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), which oversees the world-renowned Taal Lake protected landscape and intervention measures by the Department of Agriculture - Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

He also told the townsfolk here about the “Malasakit Center” that has been established at the nearby Lemery Provincial Hospital, one of 21 such centers already in place in government hospitals across the country.

Go further said that President Rodrigo R. Duterte has initiated to put up these Malasakit Centers to enable indigents to access universal health care and to institutionalize the “zero” balance billing.

As the “tulay sa Pangulo” (link to the President), he assured that funds are earmarked from the Office of the President to be downloaded to the hospital administrator for each Malasakit Center.

“Papasok ang Malasakit Center after ang PCSO (Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office), DOH (Department of Health), DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) and Philhealth (Philippine Health Insurance Corp.). Yung balance na lang po ang babayaran ng Malasakit para hindi maubos ang pondo ng Malasakit (The Malasakit Center intervenes after the respective shares of the PCSO, DOH, DSWD and Philhealth are pooled in. It will only shoulder the balance so that its funds do not get depleted easily),” Go said.

He said since the center is based at the Lemery provincial government hospital, patients from remote areas could be transported by ambulance so they could avail of the center’s services.

Besides food security, agriculture and the Malasakit Center for enhanced health services, Go said his other legislative agenda in his Senate bid includes his relentless fight against illegal drugs, criminality, corruption, affordable housing, education, localized peace talks, enhanced sports development, fire protection and prevention, review of the Magna Carta for Barangay Officials, and the creation of a Department of OFW (overseas Filipino workers) affairs.

Meanwhile, Mayor Isagani Bolompo thanked Go for spearheading the PHP100-million Lian Eco-Park project, which is designed to protect and preserve the Lian river and its environs, and as added tourism landmark besides the famous Matabungkay Beach Resort here.


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