Senator Christopher “Bong” Go encouraged poor and indigent patients to prioritize their medical-related needs amid the ongoing health crisis caused by COVID-19.
As chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Go assured them that they may conveniently avail of government assistance through any of the 120 Malasakit Centers nationwide.
Go attended the launch of the country’s 120th Malasakit Center at the San Lazaro Hospital (SLH) in Sta. Cruz, Manila on Wednesday.
The Malasakit Center is the 25th established in the National Capital Region and fourth in Manila City, in addition to the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital and Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center in the same district and the Philippine General Hospital in Ermita.
In his speech during the launch, the Senator emphasized that Filipinos must be given convenient access to medical services. He strongly advised indigent patients to avail of the services of the Malasakit Center where they may conveniently seek medical assistance to cover their hospital and other medical related expenses.
“Sa mga pasyente dito, kung may bill kayo, ilapit niyo lang ito sa Malasakit Center at tutulungan kayo nito makahingi ng tulong sa mga ahensya ng gobyerno. Hindi niyo na kailangan bumiyahe para pumila sa iba’t ibang opisina. Kung may naiwan pa kayong balanse, may pondo ring ibinigay si Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte para wala na kayong babayaran,” said Go.
He explained that medical assistance programs available through the Malasakit Center can cover the share of their health-related expenses.
“Wala itong pinipili. Basta poor at indigent patient ka, qualified ka. Pera niyo ito na binabalik lang namin sa pamamagitan ng maayos na serbisyo,” he added.
He also advised hospital personnel to ensure that those who cannot afford, particularly the poorest of the poor, must be provided treatment to ensure that lives are protected especially amid an ongoing health crisis.
“Wala nang dahilan para hindi tulungan ang mahihirap nating kababayan. Sa totoo lang, hindi naman pumupunta ang mga mayayaman dito. ‘Yung mga mahihirap at walang matakbuhan ang humihingi ng tulong kaya pakiusap, unahin natin sila,” continued the senator.
“Hiling ko rin sa susunod na administrasyon, kung marami namang mahihirap ang natutulungan ng programang ito, sana ay ipagpatuloy niyo po ang pagsuporta dito dahil batas na po ang Malasakit Centers Act,” he appealed.
The Malasakit Center was institutionalized under Republic Act No. 11463, also known as the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, which Go principally authored and sponsored in the Senate prior to President Rodrigo Duterte signing it into law on December 2, 2019.
The center is a one-stop shop for the government’s medical assistance programs. Its partner agencies include the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. The Malasakit Center covers laboratories, medicines, surgeries and other patient services and expenses.
“Malaking pasasalamat ang gusto kong iparating kay Senator Bong Go kasi kung hindi dito sa Malasakit Center Act ay hindi ma-rerealize ang ganitong adhikain or noble purpose for helping the poor, especially since we are in Metro Manila. Ako’y nagpapasalamat din sa tulong na ibinigay ng ating Presidente sa mamamayan natin, lalung-lalo na sa mga Pilipinong may sakit at nangangailangan,” said Medical Center Chief Dr. Edmundo Lopez.