Bong Go urges concerned government agencies to align efforts to ensure safe return of stranded workers in Metro Manila to their home provinces
Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go reminded concerned government agencies to assist stranded workers in Metro Manila so they could return to their home provinces safely once travel restrictions are lifted and proper protocols are in place to avoid the further spread of the COVID-19 disease.
“Habang inihahanda natin ang pag-implementa ng Balik Probinsya Program, unahin na po natin yung mga stranded na probinsyano dito sa Maynila na nahiwalay sa kanilang mga pamilya dahil sa quarantine at travel restrictions na ipinapatupad,” Go said.
The Senator said that various forms of assistance, such as food and transportation, should be provided, especially for those who are stranded in Metro Manila due to the travel restrictions.
“Tulungan natin silang makauwi, bigyan natin sila ng transportation, food at livelihood assistance, at siguraduhin natin na ang kanilang pag-uwi ay hindi magiging sanhi ng lalong pagkalat ng sakit,” he said.
Go has coordinated with the Department of Social Welfare and Development for the provision of transportation assistance and transitory packages for stranded workers. The Department of Transportation has also committed to ensure their safe travel back to their home provinces.
“Importante na mabigyan sila ng tulong para sa pagkain, transportasyon at pati kabuhayan,” he said.
For those who have lost their jobs, Go urged the Department of Labor and Employment and LGUs to assist affected workers by providing cash for work programs and other livelihood assistance necessary once they return home.
Go also said that proper health protocols should be in place so that people who will return to their provinces will be ensured that they will not bring the virus to their hometowns.
“Sundin dapat ang quarantine measures, magkaroon ng COVID-19 testing, at kailangan may certification from health officials bago bumiyahe para masigurong hindi kakalat ang sakit pag-uwi nila,” he said.
Meanwhile, the inter-agency council tasked to implement the “Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program” based on Executive Order No. 114 is also aligning efforts of various national agencies and local government units in preparation for the expected movement of Filipino families who have expressed willingness to relocate to their home provinces after the COVID-19 crisis.
Go said that, as the proponent of the Balik Probinsya program, he will continue to help national agencies in implementing the program immediately to benefit all affected Filipinos who wish to relocate to their home provinces.
“Bilang proponent ng programang ito, patuloy akong makikipagtulungan sa Executive branch. Sila naman ang may mandatong mag-execute at mag-implementa nito,” Go said, stressing further that the Executive branch must implement necessary measures that will support the objectives of giving Filipinos a better future after the COVID-19 crisis.
“Layunin po ng programang ito na mabigyan ng bagong pag-asa ang mga Pilipino para may hinaharap silang maayos na kinabukasan at tutulungan sila ng gobyerno kung magpasya silang bumalik sa kanilang mga probinsya,” he said.
Go also emphasized that the BPP is an initiative for those who have voluntarily committed to return to their provinces and start life anew.
“Marami nang gustong umuwi. Pero walang pilitan po ito. Unahin natin ang mga gusto nang mag-balik probinsya habang hinahanda natin ang iba pang mga programa para ma-enganyo ang iba pang taga-Maynila at ang mga negosyante na mag-relocate na rin sa iba’t ibang parte ng bansa,” he explained.
Senator Go emphasized that the whole government should learn from the experiences encountered during the COVID-19 crisis, particularly the difficulties in controlling the spread of a disease and the challenges of delivering government services in overpopulated urban centers.
“Sa Bisaya pa, ‘natagam’ tayo sa sobrang centralized ng populasyon at resources natin sa urban centers. Let this be a learning experience for us all,” Go said, emphasizing the need to provide long-term solutions to better address various social, economic, and health issues in the future.
As a legislator, Go said that he will help formulate long-term plans and push for key legislative measures necessary to encourage more Filipinos to go home to the provinces to have a fresh start. He mentioned earlier that he will support proposed measures that will encourage investors and businesses to expand their operations in the provinces and grant them incentives to boost development and availability of economic opportunities in the countryside.
“Bilang isang mambabatas at bilang isang probinsyano rin, gusto kong tiyakin na may magandang kinabukasan ang ating mga kapwa Pilipino pagbalik nila sa kanilang mga probinsya. In line po ito sa vision ni Pangulong Duterte na magkaroon ng better opportunities ang ating mga kababayan kahit saan man sila sa bansa,” Go said.
“Tulad nga ng sinabi ni Pangulong Duterte, starting fresh in the provinces will give Filipinos HOPE for a better future after this COVID-19 crisis,” he added.