SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go encouraged Filipinos to prioritize their health and highlighted the Duterte Administration’s efforts to address gaps in health care access, particularly for the urban poor, through the Malasakit Centers established nationwide.
The senator reminded Filipinos that they can avail of the various public medical assistance programs from the government following the launch of the newest Malasakit Center in Metro Manila, expanding the initiative’s presence in the region.
“Masaya ako at sunod-sunod ang pagbubukas ng mga centers. Tiwala akong magiging malaking tulong ito sa mga kababayan natin, lalung-lalo na sa mga walang matakbuhan at maaasahan kundi ang gobyerno,” said Go.
“Dito niyo makikita ang puso ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte para sa mga mahihirap. Sinimulan namin ito dahil ayaw naming pinapahirapan sila. Binabalik lang nito ang pera at serbisyo na dapat sa inyo sa pamamagitan ng mabilis at maaasahang serbisyo mula sa gobyernong palaging nagmamalasakit sa inyo,” he added.
To simplify and improve the process for requesting medical-related aid, the center brings together under one roof the different national agencies from which patients may avail of medical assistance. The agencies are the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
The one-stop-stop aims to reduce a hospital bill to the lowest amount possible by covering various patient services and expenses, pursuant to Republic Act No. 11463 or the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, which Go principally authored and sponsored in the Senate.
More than three million poor and indigent patients have benefitted since the program was initiated in 2018. There are now 142 fully operational Malasakit Centers nationwide, 77 of which are in Luzon, 29 in Visayas, and 36 in Mindanao.
In Metro Manila, a total of 27 DOH-run and other public hospitals have opened Malasakit Centers, including the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center, San Lazaro Hospital, Tondo Medical Center, and the Philippine General Hospital in Manila.
In the 2nd District, centers have been launched at the National Center for Mental Health in Mandaluyong City; Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center in Marikina City; Rizal Medical Center in Pasig City; San Juan Medical Center in San Juan City; and the Lung Center of the Philippines, Novaliches District Hospital, Philippine Heart Center, Philippine Children’s Medical Center, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, East Avenue Medical Center, Veterans Memorial Medical Center, Philippine Orthopedic Center, National Children’s Hospital and Quirino Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City.
Meanwhile, the Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital in Caloocan City; Ospital ng Malabon in Malabon City; Navotas City Hospital in Navotas City; Valenzuela Medical Center and Valenzuela City Emergency Hospital in Valenzuela City in the 3rd District have also opened their own.
Similar centers may also be found at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa City; Ospital ng Parañaque in Parañaque City; Pasay City General Hospital in Pasay City; and Taguig-Pateros District Hospital in Taguig City in the 4th District.
“Isa lang po ang bilin namin ni Pangulong Duterte sa mga doctors at social workers sa mga ospital na ito, ‘wag niyong pababayaan ang mga kababayan nating helpless, hopeless at walang matakbuhan. Maraming pasyente ang takot at maikli ang pasensya sa panahong ito but, please, extend your patience as we do our best to help more patients,” reminded Go.
In return, the Senate Health Committee Chair vowed to work closely with the administration to ensure the aforementioned hospitals are properly and adequately staffed and equipped to address the ongoing public health crisis. He continues to advocate for the welfare of health workers to make sure they are protected, supported, and equipped to safely fulfill their mandate of saving lives.
“Tulad ng ipanangako namin ni Pangulong Duterte, walang tigil ang trabaho at serbisyo para sa mga Pilipino. Bukas ang aming opisina kung may gusto kayong hingin na tulong. Hindi kami mangangako ng hindi namin kaya pero gagawin namin ang lahat para tulungan kayo. Lalo na nasa gitna tayo ng krisis, panahon ito para magmalasakit sa ating kapwa,” he continued.
“Pakiusap ko nalang sa mga susunod na administrasyon, sana ipagpatuloy niyo po ang mga programa ng administrasyong ito na walang ibang layunin kundi magbigay ng serbisyong mabilis, maayos, at maaasahan para sa bawat Pilipino,” he appealed further.
Despite filing his candidacy for Vice President for the upcoming national elections, Go stressed that his focus remains on fulfilling his mandate as a senator and in ensuring public service delivery amid the ongoing crisis.
“Sabi ko nga, mamaya na muna ‘yung pulitika, tapos na ‘yung filing, let’s go back to work. Unahin po natin ‘yung pagseserbisyo para sa ating mga kababayan bago ang halalan. At bakuna muna bago pulitika,” said Go.
Go stressed the need to keep improving governance to meet the evolving needs of Filipinos, especially at a time when the ongoing pandemic has changed everyone’s way of life.
“It is for this reason that I continue to prioritize improving the delivery of key public services, such as health care, in keeping with President Duterte’s commitment to a more responsive and compassionate government by bringing public services closer to those in need,” he said.