Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go was declared as an “adopted son of Puerto Princesa” by the City Council on Monday.
The passage of the resolution on this breezed through the Council following a sponsorship speech of Councilor Elgin Damasco, who cited Go for helping local residents during the recent calamities that struck the city.
”Nais [natin] na ipaabot ‘yong ating taos pusong pagpapasalamat kay Senador Bong Go dahil sa walang humpay na pagtulong sa mga biktima ng kalamidad lalo na sa mga nasunugan. Walang pagkakataon na hindi tayo pinagbigyan ng mahal na senador,” Damasco said.
The resolution was adopted by the body as co-authors and approved without going through second and third reading.
Damasco cited support extended by Go to fire victims in the city, enumerating two fire incidents last year and another two this year.
“Noong nagkaroon ng sunog sa San Miguel, April 2019, dalawa ang patay doon, isang bata ang nakaligtas. Umabot sa mahigit isang milyon ang kaniyang gastos. Sa tulong ni Senador Bong Go ay walang binayaran kahit piso ang pamilya,” Damasco said.
The initial report on the Council’s passage of the resolution invited a wave of mostly negative reactions online critical of the move by city legislative officials.
The Save Palawan Movement (SPM), a civil society group, issued a statement questioning the City Council’s resolution and described it as “shocking, disturbing, and dismaying” and a case of “political pandering.”
“While we do not diminish whatever assistance Senator Go may have extended to the city during its time of need, the gesture is patently political than what it purports to be,” the statement said.
The SPM pointed out that many private individuals and personalities, including Vice President Leni Robredo, have extended assistance during the pandemic fight but have not received such gestures.
“If the city government is really sincere in rewarding every goodwill gestures by this way, there is a long list of private individuals and groups perhaps more deserving of such treatment. But clearly, it is no more than a sad case of political pandering by our elected leaders. It is an insult to the people of Puerto Princesa City to be represented this way,” the group stated.
“Bakit siya inampon? Wala na ba siyang magulang?” one user asked in jest, replying to Palawan News’s earlier Facebook post.
“Paki-check muna ang crocodile farm baka puno na,” another Facebook user said.
“May gusto sana akong sabihin pero wag na lang baka makatanggap ako ng subpoena,” one said relating to the report of Go tapping the National Bureau of Investigations (NBI) for his online critics.
Sen. Bong Go on April has proposed the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa program which was institutionalized by President Rodrigo Duterte through Executive Order No. 114 on May 6. Balik Probinsya sought to decongest Metro Manila and promote more robust regional development.
The program had sparked controversy after it created a “wave” of COVID-19 positive cases in provinces that were previously known to be “COVID-19 free”, heavily affecting the Eastern Visayas region.
On June 11, the national government has temporarily suspended the program, heeding the plea of certain local government units (LGU) who were overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases they attributed to the program.
Senator Go has been declared as “adopted son” of several other cities and provinces including Legazpi City; Pangasinan; Nueva Ecija; and Taal, Batangas.
(With a report from Jeshyl Guiroy)