Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go on Thursday celebrated his 44th birthday with a visit to the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) Cancer and Hematology Center where he turned over PHP1 million in financial assistance and gift packages to children with cancer.
In his brief speech, Go said the financial assistance was the prize money won by Team Malacañang Kamao basketball team, where he is a member, for its runner-up finish at the UNTV basketball tournament last March.
He said the prize money would be given to the chosen charity of the winning teams.
“Pinili namin ang PCMC at nandito kami ngayon para i-turn over yung napanalunan namin na PHP 1 million (We chose PCMC and we are here to turn over the PHP1-million prize money we had),” Go said.
He said aside from turning over the financial assistance for the medical needs of the cancer patients, the visit was also an opportunity to look into what other kinds of assistance that the government could provide to the hospital in order to further improve its medical services for sick Filipino children.
“Nalulungkot ako na makita itong mga bata. Nakakalungkot na nakakatuwa na makita sila. Unang-una po nandito kami para magdala ng konting tulong po sa inyo at magsabi na rin po kayo kung ano pa po ang maitutulong namin sa inyo ( I feel sad to see these children. Sad and glad to see them. First, we are here to provide you with little help, and hear from you what else we could do to help),” Go said.
The long-time trusted aide of President Rodrigo Duterte said he and his boss are always ready to provide any kind of assistance to the best of their abilities.
“Kami po ni Pangulong Duterte ay bukas po kahit sa anumang tulong hanggat sa kaya naming dalhin o kaya naming maitulong sa inyo. Huwag po kayong mag-atubiling lumapit po (President Duterte and I are open to whatever help we could offer you. Don’t hesitate to come),” Go told the parents of the cancer patients and hospital management.
“Unang-una, pera niyo po yan, sa gobyerno po yan, hindi po amin. Kami ay nandidito lang po para tumulong sa inyo. Hindi niyo po kailangang magpasalamat dahil sa inyo po yan (First of all, it’s your money, they came from the government, they are not ours. We are here to help you. There is no need to thank us because they are yours),” he added.
Meanwhile, Go said visiting the PCMC cancer ward on his birthday was also in keeping with a 20-year tradition that he started since he became Duterte’s aide.
“Gaya po ng Pangulo (like the President), for the past 20 years, I do not celebrate my birthday. E kung ang pangulo nga po natin di nagpapa-party, sino ba naman ako para mag-party (the President does not hold party, so who am I to hold a party),” he said.
Instead, he said, he finds more fulfillment by celebrating his birthday by keeping busy at work or by sharing his blessings to the needy.
“Para sa akin, masaya po akong nakaka-pasaya po tayo ng tao. Yun po ang fulfillment ko po na pasayahin kayo. Kasi para po sa akin, hindi naman namin madadala lahat ang mga biyayang ibinigay sa amin ni Pangulong Duterte. Hindi na namin madadala yan sa pagtanda namin (For me, I’m happy to make people happy. That’s my fulfillment, to make you happy. We cannot take all the blessing given to us. We cannot take them till we grow old),” Go said.
“Kaya habang buhay po kami, gusto ko pong i-share ko sa inyo ang anumang blessings na dumating sa amin ( So while still alive, I want to share to you whatever blessings we receive),” he added.
Go said choosing the PCMC cancer ward as a beneficiary of the team’s charity as well as the place to share his blessings on his birthday was also in line with President Duterte’s promise to provide full government support to Filipinos in need of medical help, most especially the poor.
He said children with cancer have a special place in the heart of the President — proof of which is a housing unit in Davao City that Duterte bought to accommodate out-of-town children who are undergoing cancer treatment in the city.
Duterte’s trusted assistant said it would not be a surprise if most Filipinos knew somebody who has cancer since the Philippines has one of the highest rate of cancer cases worldwide.
He also cited a 2016 international study which showed that the Philippines has the highest prevalence of breast cancer cases in relation with its population.
While treating cancer is very difficult and very costly, Go told the families of cancer patients that they should not lose hope.
“Huwag kayong mawalan ng pag-asa. Yung mga anak natin, alam kong mahal na mahal po natin sila. Alam niyo po may awa ang Panginoon, magdasal tayo at kami po naman dito ay tutulong sa medikasyon hanggang sa kaya naming itulong sa inyo. Sana gumaling na po kayo (Don’t lose hope. Our children, I know we love them very much. You know, God will have pity on us, let us pray and we are here to help in the medication until the best we could do. May you recover),” Go said.
He also gave the same message to children afflicted with kidney disease whom he briefly met before leaving the hospital.
Noting that treating kidney disease also entails a lengthy medication period, he assured that the Duterte administration is always there to help them.
“Gusto ko pong mag birthday party na kasama kayo. Laban lang kayo. May Diyos, habang buhay tayo, may pag-asa po lahat yan. Make the most out of your life ( I wish I could celebrate my birthday with you. You just fight. There is God while we are still alive, we have all the hope),”he said.
“Kung anuman po ang ibinigay ng God sa inyo ngayon, magsaya po kayo. Huwag po kayong mahiyang lumapit sa amin. Kung ano po ang maitutulong namin, pinagbilin ko na po sa hospital management (Whatever God gave you now, be jubilant. Don’t hesistate to come to us. Whatever we could help, I had referred them to the hospital management),” he added. (PNA)