Go lays down priority bills for 18th Congress

Published by rudy Date posted on June 18, 2019

BY BERNADETTE E. TAMAYO, Manila Times, Jun 18, 2019

INCOMING senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Monday laid down his priority bills in the 18th Congress, which include the proposal to increase the salary of teachers.

The senator also intends to increase the salary of all civilian personnel in the government, in line with the principle of equal pay for work of equal value, considering that the base pay of military and police personnel had already been raised.

“No one should be left behind. We must attend to the welfare of ordinary government workers,” Go said in a statement.

The Senate and the House of Representatives will jointly open as 18th Congress on July 22.

The former top aide of President Rodrigo Duterte will also push for the passage of measures to address housing needs of informal settlers and the homeless. “We need a long-term affordable housing program.”

“Isa ito sa gusto kong pag-aralan at isulong upang matugunan natin ang 6.5-milyong kakulangan sa pabahay. Wala na dapat squatter sa sarili nating bayan (This is one of the things I want to study and pursue to address the 6.5-million housing backlog. There must be no squatter in our own land),” Go said.

He backs the creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience to further improve the country’s resiliency and preparedness when it comes to natural calamities and man-made disasters.

“Dahil sa patuloy at tumitinding pananalasa ng iba’t ibang mga kalamidad at sakuna, kinakailangang magkaroon ng sariling departamento na tututok sa disaster risk reduction management (Because of the continued havoc brought about by various calamities and accidents, there is a need to create a separate department that will focus on disaster risk reduction management),” he said.

Go wants to put all agencies involved in disaster risk reduction management under one department, namely the Office of Civil Defense, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, among others.

Go said he would also push for a law that would enable the establishment of Malasakit Centers nationwide to allow the continuation of the anti-poverty program of Duterte, even after he steps down.

The Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop where poor patients can get medical and financial aid because it houses all concerned agencies such as the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, and Philippine Health Insurance Corp.

The creation of the Department of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) is also one of Go’s priorities. The proposed agency will serve as a one-stop-shop in providing legal assistance for OFWs in distress. It would also arrange a full migration cycle approach in promoting migrants’ rights from pre-employment, as well as onsite and reintegration services. The department will also launch a shared database system that contains important information of all OFWs to aid in tracking their status and fast track delivery of assistance especially to distressed workers.

Other priorities under Go’s legislative agenda include programs for agriculture, long-term sports development, fire protection and prevention, localized peace talks, barangay (village) welfare, and improved benefits for senior citizens.

Go said he was looking forward to the monthly “mini” Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac) meetings to facilitate the passage of priority measures of the Duterte administration and the Congress. He said Senate President Vicente Sotto 3rd supported the holding of monthly mini Ledac meetings.

Go said Sotto believes that if the Senate and House leaders could meet once a month and discuss their respective priority bills, approving the proposed laws “would be easier as they would be on the same page.”

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