IN line with government efforts to improve access to health care services nationwide, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go hailed the launching of the country’s 112th Malasakit Center at the Mariveles Mental Wellness and General Hospital in Mariveles, Bataan on May 18.
The Malasakit Center is the 11th established in Central Luzon and the second in the province after the Bataan General Hospital and Medical Center in Balanga City.
As chair of the Senator Committee on Health, Go reaffirmed his commitment to strengthen the healthcare system and make access to healthcare services more convenient for Filipinos around the country.
“Ngayon, kung may kailangan o problema kayo, huwag kayong mag-atubiling lumapit sa amin ni Pangulong Duterte dahil trabaho namin ang tulungan kayo. Handa kaming magserbisyo sa inyong lahat sa abot ng aming makakaya,” vowed Go.
To ensure convenient access to health care, the Senator had authored and sponsored the measure that became Republic Act No. 11463 or the ‘Malasakit Centers Act of 2019’.
The Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop which brings together the government agencies from which Filipinos may seek medical assistance. They include the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
It aims to reduce to the lowest amount possible the balance of the hospital bills of those who seek its assistance by covering patient services and expenses, such as laboratories, medicines, surgeries, and operations.
“Walang pinipili ang tulong mula sa Malasakit Center. Basta Pilipino ka, kwalipikado ka. Hindi niyo na kailangan pumila o umikot pa sa iba’t ibang mga opisina para humingi ng tulong pampagamot. Nasa iisang kwarto na sa loob mismo ng ospital ang mga ahensya na handang magserbisyo sa inyo,” he said.
The senator, in his remarks personally delivered during the ceremony, expressed his heartfelt gratitude and sincere appreciation to the frontline medical workers for their untiring service to save lives amid the ongoing health crisis. In the face of these extraordinary challenges, Go reassured them of government’s utmost commitment to promote their safety and welfare.
“Sa lahat ng mga doctors, nurses at iba pang frontline health workers, maraming salamat sa inyong serbisyo sa panahong ito. Hindi mababayaran ang sakripisyo ninyo. Dahil kayo ang nakakaalam sa giyerang ito, kayo ang inuuna natin armasan ng bakuna,” said Go.
Go also took the opportunity to remind members of identified sectors included in the A1 to A3 vaccine priority categories to get vaccinated as soon as they can in order to protect themselves while preserving the health system and collective health security of the nation.
“Ang totoo, marami sa mga kababayan natin ang alanganin pa. Kaya gusto sana natin buksan at bakunahan na rin ang mga ‘isang kahig, isang tuka’ na trabahante at indigent sa A4 at A5 priority groups. Turukan na natin sila agad para walang masayang na bakuna at ma-achieve natin ‘yung herd immunity ngayong taon at maging masaya ang ating Pasko,” he continued.
He emphasized that once those most vulnerable to COVID-19, particularly frontliners, senior citizens, and those with comorbidities, are vaccinated, government can soon move on to other essential sectors and indigents in the vaccine rollout.
“Alam ko marami ang takot magpabakuna pero no choice tayo ngayon. Marahil kulang lang ‘yung pagpapaintindi natin sa kanila kaya sila takot kahit gusto nila magpaturok. Sabi nga ni Pangulong [Rodrigo] Duterte, dapat walang pilian. Kung ano ‘yung dumating, iturok na kaagad,” he said.
“Hinahabol natin ang panahon para hindi mag-expire at masayang ang mga bakuna at ma-achieve natin ‘yung herd immunity. Kaya ‘wag tayo mamili at sumunod tayo sa priority list. Unahin natin ang mga medical frontliners, senior citizens at persons with comorbidities and then pababa as fast as we can,” he added.