As Bong Go lauds continuous efforts to streamline access to medical-related gov’t assistance
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go once again urged Filipinos in need of healthcare services to avail of the government’s medical assistance programs following the launch of two new Malasakit Centers in the Cagayan Valley Region.
Go noted that access to quality healthcare services remains an important challenge, especially in rural areas where costs are often a constraint. He welcomed the government’s continued efforts to provide a more streamlined way to request medical aid especially in remote areas.
“Masaya ako at sunud-sunod ang pagbubukas ng mga Malasakit Centers sa pinakamalalayo nating probinsya. Tiwala akong patuloy itong magiging malaking tulong sa mga kababayan natin, lalo na sa mga walang matakbuhan at maaasahan kundi ang gobyerno,” said Go.
“Dito niyo makikita ang puso ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte para sa mga mahihirap. Sinimulan namin ito dahil ayaw naming pinapahirapan sila. Binabalik lang ng gobyerno ang pera at serbisyo na dapat matanggap ng tao sa pamamagitan ng mabilis at maaasahang serbisyo na may malasakit,” he added.
Situated in the northernmost part of the country, the Cagayan Valley Region is known for its mountainous terrain, developing infrastructure and difficult weather which hinder access to quality healthcare for many far-flung communities. Health facilities are typically located in major cities, forcing many to travel long distances to obtain basic medical services.
To help simplify the process of availing medical assistance in the region, the government launched two new centers, one at the Batanes General Hospital in Basco town on March 1 and another at the Quirino Provincial Medical Center in Cabarroguis town the following day. These are the country’s 150th and 151st Malasakit Centers, respectively.
The other Malasakit Centers in the region are at the Cagayan Valley Medical Center in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan; Region II Trauma and Medical Center in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya; Faustino N. Dy, Sr. Memorial Hospital in Ilagan City and Southern Isabela Medical Center in Santiago City, both in Isabela.
The Malasakit Center brings together the different government agencies that offer medical assistance under a standardized system. These agencies include the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
Its main goal is to reduce costly hospital bills to the lowest amount possible by covering various patient services and expenses. If available, centers may also facilitate access to similar programs provided by other agencies, local government units, non-governmental organizations, and private institutions and individuals.
Since its introduction in 2018, the Malasakit Centers program has benefited over three million patients nationwide. It 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.
“The Malasakit Centers Act has proven to be a great help to our citizens needing medical services through a one-stop platform in government hospitals. We commend the initiative and work of Senator Bong Go in this regard as well as other significant pieces of legislation. These centers will be of great help in ensuring that our people remain healthy and resilient during these challenging times,” President Duterte remarked in his 2020 State of the Nation Address.
The number of Malasakit Centers in each region is as follows: Ilocos (5), Central Luzon (12); Calabarzon (11), Southwestern Tagalog Region or Mimaropa (7), Bicol (7),Western Visayas (9), Central Visayas (10), Eastern Visayas (10), Zamboanga Peninsula (7), Northern Mindanao (7), Davao (5), Soccsksargen (4), Caraga (6), Cordillera (6), Bangsamoro (7), and Metro Manila (31).
“I am proud to say na mayroon na tayong Malasakit Centers sa Batanes hanggang sa Jolo. Tutulungan kayo nito hanggang maging zero balance o wala na kayong babayaran sa ospital… Tuwing nagbubukas ako ng Malasakit Center, isa lang ang parati kong pinapaalala: unahin niyo ‘yung mga mahihirap, ‘yung helpless, hopeless at walang matakbuhan,” said Go.