MANILA – Former Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go called on parents and legal guardians to exercise responsibility when it comes to children under their care, in light of the approval of the House justice panel to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 12 years old.
“Ako naman po ay pabor sa pagbaba ng age of criminal responsibility sa edad na 12 and above kasi, sa tingin ko, kailangan nang magkaroon ng responsibilidad ang mga magulang na tignan at bantayan nang maigi ang mga bata sa pangangalaga nila,” Go said.
The former aide gave this statement on Thursday evening while he and his supporters were visiting survivors of the fire in Barangay Marcelo Green, Parañaque City.
The fire in Barangay Marcelo Green, which occurred last Jan. 29, burned down 56 houses, affected 95 families, injured 1 resident of the area, and caused property damage amounting to about PHP200,000.
Currently, the survivors of the fire are staying at the Savvy 25 covered court, still in Parañaque, which has been converted into a makeshift evacuation center.
Go and his supporters visited the fire evacuees at the Savvy 25 covered court on Jan. 31 to provide assistance and give hope that their situation of the fire victims will improve.
Upon entering the covered court, Go and his companions immediately distributed grocery items, food packs, meals, and cash assistance to the affected families.
“Kaunting financial assistance mula sa mga pribadong kaibigan, grocery packs, mga pagkain, at hapunan nila (mga nabiktima ng sunog),” Go added.
Go said friends in the government including those in the DSWD and NHA have responded to the call to help the fire victims in Parañaque.
Friends in other government agencies like PAGCOR and DOH, he said, will be contacted to help alleviate the situation of the affected families.
“Pinakiusapan ko rin po ang mga dati kong kasamahan sa gobyerno at rumisponde din kaagad (sila tulad) ng DSWD na nagbigay ng tulong. Pakikiusapan ko rin po ang PAGCOR, DOH na magbigay ng kanilang tulong,” Go said.
“Ang pinaka-importante po dito ay ang NHA na bibisita po dito. Kung sino po ang mag-qualify para maka-avail ng murang pabahay at gustong lumipat ay posibleng magkaroon ng sarili nilang bahay,” Go added.
Go also set aside time to join a boodle fight with TODA drivers and operators present.
Go reminded them to join the government’s ongoing fight against illegal drugs, criminality, and corruption.
Go then discussed some of the measures the government intends to take in dealing with children who have committed crimes, following the lowering of the age of criminal responsibility.
“Ang importante dito ay mayroon silang Bahay Pag-asa kung saan doon muna sila pansamantalang ilalagay para maitama ang kanilang mga mali,” Go said.
As cited by the former presidential assistant, Bahay Pag-asa is intended to restore the children's normal social functioning towards family reunification and community reintegration.
“Responsibilidad ng mga magulang na tignan ang kanilang mga anak,” Go added, citing his agreement in holding parents and legal guardians legally liable for the misdeeds of the children in their care.
Following discussion of his stand regarding changes in the age of criminal liability, Go also spoke about needed improvements in fire safety and prevention as well as the need for properly constructed and designated evacuation centers to effectively deal with fires plaguing communities everywhere.
“Yes, marami po akong gustong baguhin, lalo na (pagdating) sa fire safety measures at lalong-lalo na sa evacuation centers dahil kulang na kulang po tayo (ng mga ito). Katulad na lamang nito; ginamit ang gym para tirahan nila na naka-tent lamang po (sila),” Go said.
“Kung mayroon tayong maayos na evacuation centers, mayroon silang matress na mahihigaan (at) mayroong malinis na CR (para), hanggang sa makauwi sila sa kanilang tahanan, kumportable (sila), lalong-lalo na po ang mga batang may sakit,” Go added.
Go also revealed the possibility of constructing a Malasakit Center that is closer to the Parañaque area.
“Magkakaroon po tayo dito sa Paranaque City ng Malasakit Center soon. Mayroon na tayo sa PGH, Lung Center of The Philippines, at mayroon pa pong magbubukas sa Novaliches,” Go announced.
The Malasakit Center, a program of the Duterte administration, is a one-stop shop where satellite offices of DOH, PCSO, DSWD, PhilHealth, and particular government agencies are housed together in one area to ease the process for patients applying for quick medical and financial assistance.
Go, who was integral in setting up the Malasakit Center program when he was serving as the top aide of President Duterte, intends to push a law that would allow the establishment of additional Malasakit Centers in provincial and urban areas of the country.
"Iklian natin ang proseso at siguradong mapapabilis ito para sa mga pasyenteng nangangailangan ng tulong," Go said.
A senatorial candidate in the 2019 elections, Bong Go has a legislative agenda which has programs for agriculture, housing, improved health service delivery, education, long-term sports development, fire protection and prevention, localized peace talks, anti-drugs and crime drive, anti-corruption drive, barangay welfare, the creation of a Department of OFWs, and improved benefits for senior citizens.
Go ended his visit to fire survivors of Barangay Marcelo Green in Parañaque by assuring the residents that they can rely on him to help them in their time of need.
“Nandito po ako para tumulong sa inyo. Wala po akong pinagbago: saan man kayo, asahang tutulungan ko po talaga ako. Kami ni Pangulong Duterte, wala kaming ibang hangarin, walang kaming ibang interes, kung di magserbisyo sa lahat ng Pilipino. At lagi ninyong tandaan na mahal po namin kayo,” he said. (PR)
Photo by Richard Madelo/Malacanang Photo/ABS-CBN News