Bong Go proposes bill to provide office, security for past PH presidents

February 8, 2023 People's Tonight 190 views

As previous presidents of the Philippines are still expected to carry out obligations notwithstanding the end of their term, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go introduced a measure in the Senate that would offer them additional benefits and privileges.

“Alam n’yo po, ang isang presidente po kapag nagtapos ang kanyang termino, ay considered na wala na siyang trabaho. Pero (sa totoo lang), kahit tapos na ang kanilang termino, hindi po nagtatapos ang kanilang trabaho at pagseserbisyo,” said Go during a television interview on Tuesday, February 7.

“Once you are a president, you will always be a president. Ibig sabihin, yung puso mo, nasa pagseserbisyo pa rin,” he also stressed in another interview that day.

Go explained that former presidents are expected to perform post-presidential duties such as meeting with foreign and local dignitaries, attending public events or other social engagements, and even entertaining those seeking their assistance or advice.

For this reason, these duties often require them to employ the services of personal staff and maintain their own offices.

“Patuloy po ang kanilang pagseserbisyo sa tao. Hindi naman po maiiwasan na maraming lumalapit, maraming imbitasyon at maraming humihingi ng tulong,” said Go.

“At meron pong mga ambassador, mga dignitaries na gustong mag-courtesy call sa kanila. Isipin n’yo po, dating presidente, mabibigla ka wala ka man lang ni isang staff po na mag-aasikaso,” he added.

Go, together with senators Mark Villar, Francis Tolentino, and Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, filed Senate Bill No. 1784 or the proposed “Former Presidents Benefits Act of 2023” on January 26.

If the bill is passed into law, all former presidents shall be entitled to additional benefits and privileges, such as personal security and protection, adequate staff provided by the Office of the President, and suitable office space, among others.

By tradition, assigning Presidential Security Group members to guard former presidents depends on the incumbent President. Whereas, the proposed bill shall institutionalize this practice and give the former presidents the right to choose the head of their own security team.

Apart from the benefits, the proposed bill also seeks to provide the former presidents’ immediate family security protection in order to thwart any attempt to harm them even after leaving public office.