SARANGANI – “I was asked to run an errand.” This was how former Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go recalled his humble beginnings with President Rodrigo Duterte, in a speech that was delivered in Alabel town in Sarangani province.
Presently, Sarangani is celebrating its 16th MunaTo Festival, which derived its name from the Blaan words for “first people,” in honor of the makers of ancient burial jars that were discovered in the province in 1991.
Go’s speech was part of “The Platform,” a set of talks hosted by Sarangani province governor Steve Chongbian-Solon. The Friday event was patterned after the popular TED Talks model.
Solon invited Go to talk about his role as “tulay sa pangulo” (bridge to the president) and to share his vision for the country. Solon hoped Go would “inspire our audience, who mostly are local officials.”
Go shared that by working for Duterte, he learned the true meaning of service. “Our society makes us believe that for us to have a great impact on the world around us, we must be at the top, we must be the number one, or we must be the best. From Tatay Digong, I learned the opposite. Instead of trying to outdo everyone else, we must find our own place and perform our duties with humility and integrity.”
He clarified that he did not leave the president’s side to merely make a name for himself. “My senatorial bid is an extension of my service to him and to the Filipino people,” Go said, adding, that like Duterte, who had no plans of running for president originally, he also had no political ambitions before, but realized that he must be in the legislative branch of the government to further help the administration carry out its programs and projects. He says that he is “more than ready to take on greater responsibilities and challenges.”
“Whatever power we are privileged to have, we should just do the best that we can,” Go added. “We should be committed and worthy of trust.”
Aside from Go, other notable experts who also participated in “The Platform” include Gina Lopez, former secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Another highlight of the day was Bong Go’s interview, which focused on his mindset and immense personal desire to be of service to people all over the Philippines and not just in Davao City, his hometown. Numerous times in his interview, Go mentioned that his “bisyo ay serbisyo” (vice is service) and he expresses concerns for particular national issues such as the plight of OFWs, agriculture, food security, and easing the processing of government documents. Furthermore, he emphasized that he will not give up in expressing as well as showing just how much he loves to serve his fellow Filipinos.
It can be surmised that all Bong Go wants is to be of service to his nation, The Philippines.
Bong Go’s participation in “The Platform” talks as well as his interview are both part of the four-day MunaTo Festival, which opened on November 28. Cultural activities, such as an exhibit on the living crafts of the province’s indigenous tribes, are the highlights of the celebration. (Jun Ledesma)
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