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2018 Man of the year: Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong’ Go

December 27, 2018 - Thursday 5:12 PM by MindaNews

This year The Mindanao Daily Mirror is starting the annual tradition of choosing the “Man of the Year” -- the one person who made the headlines for his or her positive impact on the community. Our choice for the inaugural issue is naturally someone who comes from Mindanao and represents the best of the island: former Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go.

Go made headlines during the year for various reasons, but it was his decision to run for the Senate that led to the Mirror editors’ decision to pick him. For one thing, it meant resigning from his position, something unthinkable for those who have seen him as an indispensable part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s daily activities. But if he makes it, Go -- still known as SAP even though he is no longer that -- would add to the rather short roster of Mindanawons in the Senate. It would be a fitting move for someone who worked very, very closely with the first Mindanawon to become President of the Republic.

What else makes Go worthy of this distinction? Simply put, he is one of the hardest working persons in and out of government. While most of us are sleeping soundly in our beds, he stays awake to fulfill the tasks given him. As close aide of Duterte for 21 years from the time he was Davao City mayor until he became President, Go always made sure he finished all the things his boss tasked him to accomplish – even if it meant working until 4 a.m.
Many of us would probably look at his position with envy, but his job was never easy. Answering calls, replying to text messages, addressing the needs of long lines of people trying to secure appointments with Duterte. He did all these while responding to the President's calls in between.

Dabawenyos remember clearly when, at the height of the flash flood on December 22, 2017, Go appeared seemingly out of nowhere on a jetski and plucked people one after the other and brought them to safety. A day later, Go was one of the first to comfort the relatives of the victims of the NCCC Mall fire.

In the national scene, Go would do the same things. From one fire scene to another, he would comfort people with his words and assurances of assistance. He and his friends normally bring food, clothes, school supplies, and other necessities to fire victims. And he does this at all times of the day, which sometimes prompts people to as: when does he take time to rest?

And Go is not just a busybody. His hard work also results in very concrete programs that benefit the poor even if they don’t have direct access to him. Go was instrumental in setting up Malasakit Centers in various locations nationwide, making it easy for patients to avail themselves of assistance being offered by agencies like PhilHealth, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), Department of Health (DOH), and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Those who know him know that he does these things simply because it is innate in him. Dabawenyos saw how he helped people without expecting anything in return. He even did it without any media people knowing about his actions.

In fact, Go never got recognition for what he did in the past, and it appears he is not expecting to get it any time soon. To rephrase Go: “One does not work to get noticed. We work to get things done.”

His work ethic is so strong that even now that Go is no longer SAP, the President continues to trust him. Why? The answer is simple. In the nearly 20 years he served as Duterte's right hand man, Go never dipped his hands into government funds. He was always reliable, trustworthy, hardworking, and honest.

And in President Duterte’s own words, Go has “served the country well, honestly, and with dedication. Para kay Bong Go, walang tulog ang serbisyo. Isa lang ang bisyo: serbisyo para sa tao (For Bong Go there is no rest when it comes to service. He has only one vice: service to the people.)