Christopher “Bong” Go was given the less flattering tag “Pambansang Photobomber” by many for appearing at the side of the President in almost all of his photographs. From sorties to private functions and while delivering speeches or performing just ordinary tasks, he’s there.
Then, from a photobomber, the moniker was “upgraded” to “Selfie King” when foreign media noticed his penchant for taking photos of himself (poker-faced) with the world leaders standing behind him, just a few feet away.
But for the former Special Assistant to the President, there were valid reasons why he always at the side of the Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, and there’s an explanation why he was taking selfies with the world leaders.
“ As a sortie manager of Pres. Duterte, even when he was mayor for 18 years, I was the one who really managed his schedule, kung saan siya pupunta inayos ko ‘yun, gusto ko bago siya magsalita o umakyat sa stage wala na siyang ibang iisipin, kaya people always saw me in the background and started calling me pambansang photobomber,” Bong Go shared during an intimate lunch with the showbiz press.
At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit last year, he took his trademark selfies with powerful world leaders. His photos went viral that a Facebook page was even created solely for his selfies. In the page, a profile photo template was created that allows users to superimpose Bong Go’s face in front of any photo they choose.
“It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I grabbed it,” Bong Go explained.
“It was a rare opportunity to see the world leaders in APEC and ASEAN so I took that opportunity to take a selfie. I don’t think, even in Guinness (Book of World Records), walang nakagawa ng ganun at one time,” he added in jest.
He went on narrating how his famous selfies with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull came about.
“ I had a selfie with Trudeau during the APEC and when we hosted the ASEAN naalala niya ako so he said, “You again? I’ll do the selfie for you. And with Australian Prime Minister, mahilig din talaga siyang mag-selfie,” he said.
Beyond his selfies
During the showbiz press meeting with Bong Go, who is gunning for a seat at the Senate in the midterm elections next year, he discussed what he would like to do in case he gets elected.
“My priority bill would be ‘yung giving free medicines to indigent patients. Kasi ngayon, ang hirap ng proseso so I want to institutionalize it para hindi na mahirapan ang mga pasyenteng walang pambili ng gamot.
“Then I want to create a separate department for OFWs. They’re helping the country a lot with their remittances so we should focus on how to help them also, especially the distressed ones. My other advocacies would be offering free education, lalo na sa grade school, then free housing for the poor, food security through good agriculture and helping juvenile criminalsna ginagamit na drug courier ng drug traffickers,” he added.
As a long-time Philippine showbiz fan Bong Go also calls for an intensified crackdown against piracy victimizing the local movie industry.
“I will push for strategies to crack down on these illegal businesses and strengthen the campaign against piracy,” he said.
Being a showbiz fan, he recalled how, during his younger years, his parents allowed him to watch the films of FPJ and Dolphy at the local cinema in Davao. He also bared his association with actors like Epi Quizon, Dolphy’s son, and Jeffrey Santos, whom he used to drop off at Broadway Centrum for That’s Entertainment rehearsals.
Go hoped that in the future he can work together with the film industry to keep it strong, even as he noted that our movies depict our culture such as the lives of each and every Filipino around the world.
“We need to amplify the quality of Philippine cinema, especially to our youth. If we are to uniquely identify ourselves as Filipinos, we need more Filipino-made films,” Go ended.
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