Bong Go

Bong Go: ‘Get vaccinated before it is too late’

August 23, 2021 People's Tonight 240 views

Bong GoAS chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go advised hesitant, unvaccinated Filipinos to get inoculated before it is too late, as COVID-19 cases in the country continue to rise.

The senator said in an interview on Saturday, August 21, that the public should take advantage of the opportunity to get vaccinated in order to protect them and their loved ones against COVID-19.

“Marami pa po ang nag-aalinlangan sa pagpapabakuna pero pansinin niyo po, kadalasang namamatay o nagkakasakit ng severe ay ang mga ‘di bakunado,” Go said.

“Kaya mag-isip kayong maigi… ‘yung panahon na tamaan kayo ng COVID-19. Hindi naman po ito pilitan, nasa datos naman po na itong bakuna ang solusyon para makabalik unti-unti sa normal na pamumuhay,” he added.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) recently downgraded Metro Manila, Laguna, and Bataan’s community quarantine classifications to the less restrictive Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) starting August 21 for NCR and Laguna, and August 23 for Bataan, until August 31. That said, Go warned the public against complacency.

“Tayo naman po, ilang beses nang pabalik-balik sa ECQ at pagluluwag, pabago bago po galaw ng kalaban (na COVID-19). Subalit di tayo dapat magbago sa ating tungkulin (bilang mga responsableng mamamayan),” explained Go.

“Dalawa lang ang susi: bakuna at disiplina ng bawat Pilipino. ‘Di po biro ang COVID-19, nasa 17th o 18th month na tayo ay patuloy pa ring tumataas di lang sa ating bansa kundi sa buong mundo. Ang ginagawa po ng gobyerno ay based on good science,” he added.

According to Go, many individuals who are getting severe disease have not obtained their immunizations, citing data from health experts here and abroad.

“Importante po sa amin ni Pangulong Duterte ang buhay ng bawat Pilipino. Ang pera po ay kikitain natin pero ang perang kikitain natin ay ‘di po nabibili ang buhay. A lost life is a lost life forever,” he said.

“Marami pa po ang nag-aalinlangan sa pagpapabakuna pero napapansin ko po, kadalasang namamatay o nagkakasakit ng severe, yun po ang mga di bakunado. […] Halos lahat ng nasa ospital ay di pa bakunado. Kung mahal nyo anak nyo at pamilya nyo, magpabakuna na kayo,” he added.

He went on to say that he believes the government will meet the goal of population protection this year and eventually herd immunity if efforts are strengthened to encourage Filipinos to get inoculated.

“Nasa target naman tayo. Ang gusto nating makamtam ay population protection ngayong taon. Positive naman ako na makakamit natin ngayong taong ito dahil kung mabakunahan natin ang 50% ng ating population ay tuloy tuloy tayo tungo sa herd immunity,” he said.

Go explained that once population protection is achieved through vaccination, and communities eventually reach herd immunity, more economic sectors can open and prosper towards achieving full recovery.

“Kapag marami nang bakunado at bumaba na ang bilang ng mga nagkakasakit sa ating komunidad, maaari na pong luwagan ang mga restrictions at makapagbubukas na muli ang ibang mga industriya. Dadami na ulit ang trabaho at lalago na muli ang kabuhayan ng mga Pilipino. Iyan po ang gusto nating marating ngayong taon,” he explained.

As of August 21, the Philippines had received a total of 48,522,890 COVID-19 vaccines, including additional 1,000,000 Sinovac doses and 260,800 Sinopharm jabs. Around 120 million more doses are expected to arrive in the coming months.

Meanwhile, as of August 20, the country has given out a total of 29,990,690 doses, with 16,940,783 people receiving their first dose and 13,049,907 Filipinos receiving their full vaccination. The national daily vaccination rate as of August 20 stands at 398,862 a day.

“Hikayatin natin ang bawat isa na parte ng priority groups na magpabakuna na po. Libre naman po itong bakuna para sa mga Pilipino. Pinaghirapan po natin ang mga bakunang ito na makuha. Agawan ito sa buong mundo,” he said.

“Kaya huwag nating sayangin ang oportunidad na maproteksyunan ang ating sarili at ang ating mga mahal sa buhay mula sa sakit gamit ang bakuna na available naman para sa inyo. Habulan ang laban na ito kontra COVID-19. Huwag ninyo antayin na maunahan kayo ng sakit bago pa kayo mabakunahan. Nasa huli ang pagsisisi,” Go further warned.

Bong Go asks PhilHealth to reconsider memo

SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go appealed to PhilHealth to reconsider the issuance of its Circular No. 2021-0013 which halts the “payment of claims that are subject of investigations pertaining to fraudulent, unethical acts, and/or abuse of authority.”

“Bilang chair ng Senate Committee on Health, umaapela ako sa PhilHealth na huwag muna ituloy ang kanilang nasabing Circular No. 2021-0013,” said Go in a statement issued on Sunday, August 22.

“Bigyan natin ng palugit dahil iba ang sitwasyon ngayon. May hinaharap pa tayong pandemya at kailangan nating magtulungan para malampasan ito at maproteksyunan ang buhay ng ating mga kababayan,” he added.

Go mentioned that, on the same day, he already reached out to PhilHealth President Dante Gierran, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Secretary Carlito Galvez to help resolve these issues and protect the stability of the health system.

“I appealed to PhilHealth not to suspend payments to hospitals and for them to work together in order for these issues to be resolved,” he said.

While he expresses his support for PhilHealth’s efforts to reform their system and protect public funds from fraudulent claims, Go said that it should not compromise the health services for Filipinos.

“Bagama’t sang-ayon ako sa hangarin ng PhilHealth na repormahin ang kanilang sistema para maproteksyunan ang pondo ng bayan laban sa mga namamantala, isaalang-alang rin dapat natin ang mga maaapektuhang ordinaryong mamamayan na walang matatakbuhan at nangangailangan ng tulong, lalo na pagdating sa kalusugan,” Go noted.

As the country is still in a public health emergency, Go said that the government agencies need to be more flexible so they can prioritize what Filipinos need at this time.

Due to the issuance of the circular, the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines, the Philippine Hospitals Association, and the Philippine Medical Association issued a joint statement on August 21 announcing that they will “disengage” from the state-run health insurer.

Meanwhile, Go requested the state insurer and concerned hospitals to work together to speed up the processing of their requirements so that payment may be made as quickly as possible.

“Ang payo ko sa PhilHealth at sa mga ospital na may pending claims, ayusin niyo na agad ang mga dokumento para hindi na matagalan ang pagbayad,” he said.

“’Yung mga mapatunayang may fraudulent claims, iyon ang kasuhan. ‘Yung mga maayos naman, tulungan natin silang magampanan ang tungkulin nila sa komunidad lalo na ngayon na napaka-importante ng mga ospital dahil tumataas na naman ang kaso ng mga nagkakasakit,” Go added.

Go further asked hospitals to follow the proper procedures and be truthful in their claims, particularly in these exceptional circumstances due to the pandemic.

“Sundin lang po natin ang tamang proseso at huwag na pong patagalin pa. Bilisan na po natin dahil malaking bagay ito upang mas makaresponde tayo sa pangangailangang pangkalusugan ng taumbayan,” he said.

“Pangalagaan rin natin ang pondo ng bayan at huwag natin palampasin ang mga nangsasamantala,” he added.

He also called on PhilHealth and hospitals to prioritize the welfare of ordinary Filipinos who need their services now more than ever.

“Huwag nating hayaan na mailagay sa alanganin ang buhay ng mga Pilipino dahil iyon ang pangunahing konsiderasyon natin palagi. Sa lahat ng aksyon at desisyon ng gobyerno, dapat balanse para hindi makompromiso ang serbisyo na dapat matanggap ng bawat Pilipino,” Go concluded.

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