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“Para sa bawat Pilipino, lalo na sa mahihirap, ang Malasakit Center”
Bong Go gives aid to struggling residents in Sta. Rita, Pampanga
SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go, head of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, continues to prioritize improving access to healthcare especially for poor and indigent patients needing medical assistance from the government.
In his video message during his team’s relief operation in Sta. Rita, Pampanga on Tuesday, April 18, Go shared that he initiated the Malasakit Centers program after he personally witnessed the challenges of financially incapacitated Filipinos to get medical assistance.
“Nagsimula ang Malasakit Center sa Cebu. Sinubukan namin ilagay ang apat na ahensya ng gobyerno—ang PCSO, DOH, DSWD, at PhilHealth—sa iisang opisina para hindi na kailanganin pang masayang ang ilang araw ng ating mga kababayan na humingi ng tulong,” explained Go, who is the primary author and sponsor of the Act.
“Basta Pilipino ka, poor and indigent patient ka, qualified ka sa Malasakit Center. Lapitan niyo lang po ang Malasakit Center diyan po sa inyong lugar at tutulungan po kayo sa inyong billing,” he added.
Go successfully pushed for the enactment of Republic Act No. 11463, otherwise known as the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, to ensure poor and indigent patients get convenient access to medical assistance programs offered by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Health, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
In Pampanga, Malasakit Centers are located at the Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital and at the Overseas Filipino Workers Hospital and Diagnostic Center, both in San Fernando City; and at the Rafael Lazatin Memorial Medical Center in Angeles City. Currently, there are 157 Malasakit Centers nationwide.
The relief activity was mounted at the municipal hall where his team extended snacks and shirts to 33 indigent Kapampangans. Meanwhile, they also gave away shoes and balls for basketball and volleyball to select recipients.
A team from the DSWD then provided financial assistance.
Meanwhile, Go also mentioned that the government continues to bring health services closer to Filipino communities through the establishment of Super Health Centers nationwide.
Through the collective efforts of Go and fellow lawmakers, sufficient funds had been allocated under the Health Facilities Enhancement Program of the DOH for 307 Super Health Centers in 2022 and 322 SHCs in 2023. DOH, the lead implementing agency, identifies the strategic areas where SHCs will be constructed.
Under the 2022 national budget, Super Health Centers in Pampanga were funded in San Fernando City and in the towns of Lubao, Macabebe, Magalang, Porac and San Agustin. In 2023, more centers were identified to be established in the towns of Magalang, Minalin, Porac, Sta. Rita, and Arayat — the last one’s groundbreaking was attended by Go last month.
Services offered in Super Health Centers include database management, out-patient, birthing, isolation, diagnostic (laboratory: x-ray and ultrasound), pharmacy and ambulatory surgical unit. Other available services are eye, ear, nose, and throat (EENT) service, oncology centers, physical therapy and rehabilitation center and telemedicine, where remote diagnosis and treatment of patients will be done.
Go, as Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, likewise supported the funding of new equipment for hospitals in San Fernando City and in the towns of Arayat, Bacolor, Floridablanca, Guagua, Lubao, Mabalacat, Porac and San Luis; and construction of multipurpose buildings in Arayat, Floridablanca, Santa Monica, Magalang and Masantol, among others. He was also instrumental in the construction of slope protection along Sapangbato River in Brgy. Margot in Angeles City.
Last January 26, Go was honored by the provincial government of Pampanga for advancing the province’s well-being and interests through its Resolution No. 7643-A. On that same day, former president Rodrigo Duterte was declared the province’s “adopted son” by virtue of Resolution No. 7643 in recognition of his significant contributions to Pampanga’s growth and prosperity during his presidency from 2016 to 2022.