As Bong Go prioritizes providing accessible health services to Filipinos nationwide
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go continued his appeal to Filipinos to prioritize their health needs amid the ongoing health crisis as he witnessed the launch of the 143rd Malasakit Center at Doña Maria D. Tan Memorial Hospital in Tangub City, Misamis Occidental on Tuesday, October 12.
The Malasakit Center is the second center established in the province in addition to the Mayor Hilarion A. Ramiro Sr. Medical Center in Ozamiz City that was launched in January of last year. It is also the 37th in Mindanao region and the seventh in Northern Mindanao.
Go, who serves as Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, expressed his concern that Filipinos living in rural areas are often reluctant to get medical attention due to the cost it entails. He explained that the Malasakit Centers aim to address this concern.
“Nagsimula itong Malasakit Center nung nakita ko ‘yung problema diyan sa baba. Sa tagal kong nagtrabaho kay President Duterte, maraming lumalapit sa kaniya sa Davao City Hall, mga hindi residente sa Davao. Minsan taga Misamis, taga Zamboanga, pumupunta sa Davao dahil nandoon ang hospital,” Go lamented.
“Kaya sabi ko ilagay natin sa isang kwarto, tinest namin sa Cebu ni Sec. Michael Dino. Nilagyan namin ‘yung Malasakit, pinagtabi ‘yung PhilHealth, PCSO, DOH at DSWD… Effective naman dahil nakita natin na hindi na nila kailangang pumila at magpakahirap dayuhin ang iba’t ibang opisina. Iisang kwarto na lang sa loob mismo ng ospital,” he continued.
Principally authored and sponsored by Go and signed into law by President Duterte in 2019, Republic Act No. 11463 or the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019 mandates all hospitals administered and managed by the Department of Health, as well as the Philippine General Hospital in Manila, to establish Malasakit Centers that would address the need for an efficient integrated system for conveniently availing medical assistance programs from the government.
Other public hospitals may also establish their own Malasakit Centers provided they comply with the criteria set by the law to ensure sustainability of its operations.
The center is a one stop-shop which streamlines the process of acquiring aid from the concerned agencies, namely DOH, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. Its primary aim is to reduce a hospital bill to the lowest amount possible by covering various patient services and fees.
“Ngayon kung mayroon kayong pasyente na hindi kayang operahan dito, magsabi kayo dahil ako na ang sasalo sa Davao o Manila, sa Heart Center… operasyon o transplant na kailangan… tutulong po kami,” Go offered.
“’Wag na ninyong patagalin, ang importante ay makasalba man lamang tayo ng buhay ng kapwa tao. ‘Wag kayong mamroblema sa inyong babayaran dahil kami na ang bahala, pati pamasahe ninyo kami na ang tutulong sa pagpapaospital niyo,” he added.
Meanwhile, Go cited that through the joint efforts of the DOH and his office, Doña Maria D. Tan Memorial Hospital will be provided additional resources that would support and further improve its operations.
“Kung anuman ang maitutulong ko, sisikapin ko na makatulong sa inyong hospital. ‘Yung Dialysis Center ninyo, pagsisikapan ko para hindi niyo na kailangan magbiyahe. Hahanapan ko ng paraan. Ang importante, makatulong tayo sa mga kapatid natin na hindi na kailangan maghirap,” Go said.
He then lauded medical frontliners for their hard work and commitment to serve Filipinos during the ongoing national health crisis.
“Sa lahat ng frontliner dito sa ospital, maraming salamat sa inyong sakripisyo ngayong panahon. Palakpakan natin ang mga frontliners, kasali na dyan ang security, utility. Alam niyo, hindi ganun kadali ang magserbisyo lalo na sa laban natin sa COVID-19,” Go expressed.
Go reaffirmed that he will continue to push for initiatives that will further improve and enhance the capabilities of the country’s health care system.
“Huwag muna nating pag-usapan ang pulitika ngayon. Naghihirap ang ating mga kababayan, unahin sana natin na malampasan itong pandemya dahil baka wala na tayong pulitika na pag-uusapan ‘pag hindi natin ito malampasan,” Go said.
“Importante po sa akin, bigyan natin ng komportableng buhay ang mga kababayan natin, lalong lalo na po ‘yung mahihirap po at mga walang matakbuhan, ‘yun po ang importante para sa akin,” he continued.
Ending his speech, Go recognized various officials for their service, including Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino, Assistant Secretary Girlie Veloso, Representative Diego Ty, Governor Philip Tan, Vice Governor Aurora Virginia Almonte, Tangub City Mayor Jennifer Tan, Chief of Hospital Dr. Janice Castolo-Biete, Committee on Health of Sangguniang Panlalawigan Chair Tata Paylaga-Lim, and other local officials.
After the launch, Go’s team provided meals, masks, face shields, and vitamins to 70 patients and 270 frontliners. The DSWD, in turn, gave financial assistance to the indigent patients and 250 rank-and-file hospital employees.
Meanwhile, Go also gave computer tablets, bicycles, and new pairs of shoes to select recipients.
“Marami na po tayong tinulungan na mga indigents dito… kung ano pa ang makatulong para sa inyo, tutulong po ako sa abot ng aking makakaya para po maiahon ang mga kababayan natin sa kahirapan dulot ng COVID-19,” Go reassured.
As Vice Chair of Senate Committee on Finance, Go supported the rehabilitation of Doña Maria D. Tan Memorial Hospital and the construction of multi-purpose buildings in Brgy. Lorenzo Tan and Governor Alfonso D. Tan College.
Following the event, Senator Go led two distribution activities for various sectoral groups conducted at Sinanduloy Cultural Center in Tangub City, and Medina Gymnasium in Ozamiz City.
On the same day, Go also checked on the Malasakit Center in Mayor Hilarion A. Ramiro Sr. Medical Center which was recently improved through RA 11563 that he sponsored in the Senate to increase its bed capacity from 500 to 1,000 beds. The measure was signed into law by President Duterte last June 24, 2021.