Bong Go’s corporate social responsibility

THE government, in many aspects, is just like one big corporation. And like private or government-owned corporations, it imposes upon itself a corporate social responsibility, a non-core program that sets aside part of their profits to reach out to communities that need assistance.

Government-owned corporations, under the Gender and Development Program, are mandated by law to set aside 5 percent of its budget for GAD. While this was primarily designed to institutionalize gender equality, GOCs may also tap this fund for CSR projects especially those which gives equal opportunities and responsibilities for women and men of the implementing agencies and the beneficiaries themselves.

Private corporations have a wider latitude in carrying out their CSR programs in that they are not subject to government audit but only abide by the guidelines set forth by the firms. The Anvil Awards of the Public Relations Society of the Philippines give prestige to government and private corporations by giving those with exemplary CSR projects that help improve the lives of beneficiary communities.

Carrying out CSR programs is not, however, a walk in the park. I therefore commiserate with Sec. Christopher “Bong” Go because I observed lately that he has to perform odd jobs which aptly falls under government CSR except that his is such a huge undertaking. Bong Go is the data bank of his boss, Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte, and at the same time head of the Presidential Management Staff. As PMS head, he attends to complaints, inquiries and pleas for assistance. I would best describe him as a traffic officer that directs the flow of communications from the public to appropriate government agencies for proper action. His office is where the first step that addresses red tapes begins. It was therefore so unkind for the likes of Rappler’s Pia Ranada to insinuate irregularity when Secretary Bong, the Special Assistant to the President, wrote a marginal note endorsing documents relating to the frigate issue to the Defense Department for proper action.

With the enormous task his boss has to attend to, “Bong”, as he prefers to be called, now represents the President in unscheduled trips arising from disasters, death in the family and other emergencies. He carries not only the personal message of the President and assistance of whatever kind. Add to that mounting appeals for help that are coursed through radio programs. Cesar Chavez of DZRH, for example, is now swamped with requests to convey their concerns to Secretary Bong.

It pays that Bong had, through the years of being with his boss, adjusted his body clock and is quite physically fit being a basketball player. The President, even when he was Mayor of Davao City, would make the rounds of the city when everybody goes to sleep. Bong may not be riding on a motorcycle like the mayor loves to do, but he is not actually far behind. In time of calamities Bong is among the first to respond. Once when an unexpected flash flood engulfed a subdivision close to where I stay, Bong was seen rescuing several people trapped in flood water that had breached the rooftops. He fetched them in his jet-ski and brought each to safe places.

Talking of Pia Ranada, as a cub reporter of Rappler covering Duterte’s early foray in the Presidential campaign, she fell in a deep canal when amidst a huge crowd wanting to have a glimpse of the Mayor became unruly and pushed her to he edge. Bong and his boss cut short the campaign sortie and personally brought her to a hospital. They never left her until the doctors assured them that Pia is okay.

These days, Pia is focused on finding faults against the President and Bong, and of late had the brashness to say that Duterte is afraid of her for she speaks the truth. Her “truth” actually comes from perjured witnesses Edgar Matobato and Arthur Lascanas. Bong had a share of Pia’s audacity and attempt at craftiness. After clearing himself in the Senate hall, the Special Assistant to the President got back to his job doing his daunting task which partakes of one huge corporate social responsibility.