The President’s Men and Women: Bong Go: The man behind the President
(The Philippine Star) - August 1, 2016 - 12:00am

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The special assistant to President Duterte is one hell of a basketball player.

Christopher “Bong” Go is known in Davao City as a “mean three-point machine,” who can throw up to 10 three-point shots in a game.

Go’s love for basketball brought him to ringside when the President tossed the ceremonial ball of the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament recently held at the Mall of Asia Arena. 

Go does not mind being called “all-around utility man,” “close aide,” and “go-to guy.” He does not also mind being tagged as the “national photobomber” during Duterte’s campaign.

“I had a job to do then. I had to be always behind him (Duterte) because I also had to take note of what he says or if he needs information from me regarding certain questions from media at that time of the campaign,” he said.

Go also maintained that he never lets the influence he wields get to his head. He said he just wants to make sure that he is able to provide whatever the President needs.

“I am low profile. Please do not ever use that title ‘little president’. That is too much,” he added.

If there is anyone who had served Duterte the longest and the closest, it is the 42-year-old Go, the grandson of a close friend of Duterte and a management graduate of De La Salle University.

He has been serving Duterte since 1998. He replaced Duterte’s former aide who had succumbed to cardiac arrest in the middle of a basketball game. 

Go is the person Duterte cannot do without. He briefs Duterte about the news for the day and the things that have to be done later in the day.

For the longest time, Go is known in Davao City as the “gateway to Mayor Duterte.” Now, Go is considered as the “presidential gate” since no one goes to Duterte without passing through Go.

He manages the schedule of the President, including his speaking engagements. 

Go had a big part in how Duterte finally decided to run for president. He recounted that it was a hard start for Duterte because only a few people believed in him as then mayor of Davao City, and his camp did not have a machinery as big and as strong as those of other presidential candidates.

But fate has it own reasons. The mayor of Davao City won by landslide in the 2016 presidential race. And Go is still by his side, serving him more than ever.

In his Executive Order No. 1, Duterte created the Office of the President-Events Management Cluster (OP-EMC) to “ensure effective collaboration among the offices and/or units involved in the preparations for and the management of presidential engagements.”

Duterte appointed Go as head of the OP-EMC aside from having supervision over the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) and the Office of the Appointments Secretary.

The OP-EMC is composed of the PMS, Presidential Security Group, Office of the Chief Presidential Protocol, Media Accreditation and Relations Office, and Radio-Television Malacañang.

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