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Bong Go attends launch of 157th Malasakit Center in Cebu City
SENATOR Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go marked a significant milestone as he joined the launch of the 157th Malasakit Center at the Cebu City Medical Center.
Notably, the first Malasakit Center was also established five years prior in the same city at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC).
During the event, Go emphasized that his commitment to improving the country’s health system as Chair of the Senate Committee on Health remains one of his top priorities. He then stressed the significance of the Malasakit Centers in public healthcare by offering Filipinos a more convenient and efficient way to avail of medical assistance from government.
“Bilang chair po ng Committee on Health sa Senado, ‘yan po ang advocacy ko, health po. Kaya patuloy na prayoridad ko itong mga Malasakit Center,” said Go in his message.
“Bakit natin papahirapan ang mga kapwa natin Pilipino? Pera naman po ninyo ‘yan, dapat po ibalik sa inyo sa pamamagitan ng mabilis at maayos na serbisyo. ‘Yan po ang Malasakit Center,” he said.
The first Malasakit Center was launched in 2018, also in Cebu City. Since then, the number of Malasakit Centers has increased to 157 across the country, benefitting more than seven million Filipinos so far according to the Department of Health.
Each Malasakit Center serves as a one-stop shop for medical assistance from different government agencies, such as the DOH, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
Through the centers, patients can apply for medical assistance and subsidies for hospital bills, medicines, and other medical expenses without having to go to different government offices.
Republic Act No. 11463 or the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019 was signed by former president Duterte in 2019 to institutionalize the program.
Go principally authored and sponsored the measure in the Senate.
Through Malasakit Centers, Go hopes to make healthcare more accessible and affordable for Filipinos.
Other Malasakit Centers in the city are located at VSMMC as well as in St. Anthony Mother and Child Hospital.
Several Malasakit Centers are also found throughout the province, particularly at the Eversley Childs Sanitarium and General Hospital in Mandaue City, Cebu South Medical Center in Talisay City, Cebu Provincial Hospital in Carcar City, and Lapu-Lapu City District Hospital.
After the launch, Go and his team personally handed out food packs, masks, vitamins, and snacks to 76 patients and 401 medical frontliners and staff in the hospital, including security guards and utility personnel.
Apart from the distribution of basic needs, the senator also gave away a bicycle, cellphone, pairs of shoes, and a watch to select beneficiaries.
Meanwhile, representatives from the DSWD provided financial assistance to the admitted patients, as well as qualified personnel such as security guards and janitors.
Apart from the Malasakit Centers, Go also advocated for the establishment of Super Health Centers nationwide especially in far-flung communities which shall provide basic health services, such as database management, out-patient, birthing, isolation, diagnostic (laboratory: x-ray, ultrasound), pharmacy, and ambulatory surgical unit.
In Cebu province, the DOH identified the cities of Bogo, Danao, Lapu-Lapu, and Mandaue; and the towns of Borbon, Cordova which he visited the same day, Moalboal, Samboan, and San Francisco as locations for Super Health Centers in 2022.
On the same day, Go also inspected the Super Health Center in Cordova and assisted its residents. He then proceeded to the groundbreaking ceremony for the Super Health Center in Toledo City, where he likewise provided aid to the residents. Additionally, he extended assistance to fire victims in Cebu City.