118th Malasakit Center opens in Bukidnon

As Bong Go assures poor and indigent patients of convenient access to medical assistance for their health-related needs

In line with the Duterte Administration’s commitment to improving access to healthcare and the general well-being of the nation, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go personally attended the launch of the country’s 118th Malasakit Center at the Bukidnon Provincial Hospital in Maramag, Bukidnon on Wednesday, June 9.

This is the first hospital in the province to open a Malasakit Center. Other hospitals in neighboring provinces include the Northern Mindanao Medical Center and J.R. Borja General Hospital in Cagayan de Oro City; Mayor Hilarion A. Ramiro Sr. Medical Center in Ozamiz City; Kapatagan Provincial Hospital in Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte; Cotabato Provincial Hospital in Kidapawan City; and Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City.

In a speech delivered during the ceremony, Go assured poor and indigent patients that they may conveniently avail of the services of the center in order to access quality medical care.

“Mga kababayan, mayroon na tayong Malasakit Center sa Bukidnon. Isinulong ko ito sa Senado sa tulong ni Senator [Juan Miguel] Zubiri. Sabihan niyo ang mga kapitbahay niyo na mayro’n na kayong Malasakit Center na tutulong para wala na kayong babayaran sa inyong pagpapa-ospital,” began Go.

“Wala itong pinipili. Basta poor at indigent patient ka, qualified ka. Pera niyo ito na binabalik lang namin sa pamamagitan ng maayos na serbisyo,” he added.

The Malasakit Centers program 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 prior to President Rodrigo Duterte signing it into law on December 2, 2019.

The center is a one-stop shop for the government’s medical assistance programs. Its partner agencies include the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. The Malasakit Center covers laboratories, medicines, surgeries and other patient services and expenses.

“Sobrang saya namin sa ibinigay mo sa amin. Gusto kong malaman mo na parehas ang ating puso … (gusto nating) libre sa lahat ng tao, walang bayad,” said Governor Jose Maria Zubiri Jr.

“Mr. Senator, we are so happy. I feel like crying. Why are you so kind? The people out there, they’ve waited for you. With what you’ve told them, you already made a miracle out of this. You will never be forgotten in the province of Bukidnon. We never forget people who have a heart, especially for the poor and poorest among them all. Thank you very much,” the Governor added.

As the Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Go further vowed to pursue measures that will strengthen access to affordable quality health care and improve the delivery of services, especially in poor and remote areas.

He thanked Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri for supporting the recent passage of the 13 hospital bills in the Senate which seek to boost the capacities of various local health facilities.

“Alam ko ang sitwasyon sa mga ospital natin dahil pumupunta ako sa baba. Alam niyo ba na sa sobrang dami ng mga pasyente, minsan nakahilera na ang mga kama sa corridor tapos sa bawat kama may apat na pasyente? Paano gagaling ang tao kung ganyan ang kalagayan nila?” asked Go.

“Kaya sabi ko hindi ako titigil na ipaglaban sa Senado ang mga hospital bills na ito dahil para ‘to sa mga mahihirap. Sa panahon ngayon, malalaman mo na hindi talaga biro ang pagiging mahirap, na wala kang malalapitan. Hindi natin alam kung kailan matatapos ang pandemya kaya dapat maghanda at magdagdag na tayo ng mga bagong ospital, kama at equipment,” he said.

The Senator stressed the importance of a strong medical work force and urged all remaining unvaccinated medical frontliners to get inoculated. To ensure the stability of the health care system amid the pandemic, he explained that the government must vaccinate all priority groups in the order prescribed as soon as possible.

“Pakiusap namin, ‘wag na kayong mamili. The best vaccine is the one available in front of you. Magpabakuna na kayo para mas protektado ang inyong mga katawan. Target natin na ma-achieve ang herd immunity ngayong taon,” said Go.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Migz Zubiri, who is from Bukidnon, took this opportunity to seek Go’s support in acquiring more supplies of vaccines for the province.

“Mayroon request Kuya Bong ang mga kababayan natin dito, Kung maaari ay dagdagan ang mga bakuna para sa mga mamamayan sa Bukidnon. Alam ko mahal mo ang Bukidnon dahil magkapitbahay lang tayo,” said Zubiri.

”Yes sir. Sisiguraduhin natin ‘yan na madadagdagan… magrerequest po tayo (sa national government),” vowed Go in response.

Meanwhile, in support of their continued dedication to their duties amid the difficult situation, the Senator’s team distributed meals, food packs, vitamins, masks and face shields to a total of 462 medical frontliners after the ceremony.

Selected beneficiaries were also given bicycles for their commuting needs or new pairs of shoes so they can work comfortably. Others were provided computer tablets to help their children with their blended learning activities.

The DSWD also provided 249 rank-and-file hospital employees with financial assistance in a separate distribution. The same assistance was likewise extended to 88 indigent patients.

The Senator went on to thank various individuals for their tireless efforts to protect the health and well-being of Bukidnons. Among those present during the activity were Senator Zubiri, Assistant Secretary Girlie Veloso of the Office of President, Governor Zubiri Jr., and Chief of Hospital Dr. Edmundo Garcia.

He also acknowledged local leaders present such as Valencia City Mayor Azucena Huervas, Damulog Mayor Melino Buro, Don Carlos Mayor Ma. Victoria Pizarro, Kadingilan Mayor Jerry Canoy, Kalilangan Mayor Omaradji Pizarro, Libona Mayor Aurelio Lopez, Pangantucan Mayor Miguel Silva Jr., Quezon Mayor Pablo Lorenzo III, Talakag Mayor Vergito Factura, Brgy. North Poblacion Punong Barangay Val Auditor, and Brgy. South Poblacion Punong Barangay Tetet Galilea.

“Magkapitbahay lang naman tayo. Huwag kayong mag-alinlangan na lumapit sa amin ni Pangulong Duterte dahil trabaho namin ang magserbisyo sa inyo. Nagpapasalamat kami sa inyong lahat dahil binigyan niyo kami ng pagkakataon na magserbisyo sa ating bayan,” continued Go.

“Sa mga kababayan nating mahihirap, nandito kami para sa inyong lahat. Hindi kami mangangako na kaya namin gawin ang lahat, pero makakaasa kayo ng gagawin namin ang lahat sa abot ng aming makakaya para magserbisyo sa inyo,” he ended.

Over 2,000 marginalized workers receive cash aid

DAVAO CITY – More than 2,000 identified beneficiaries from the 54 barangays of the first district received the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) payout on June 4, Friday.

TUPAD is a community–based package of assistance that offers emergency service for displaced, underemployed and seasonal workers, for a minimum period of 10 days, not more than 30 days, depending on the nature of work.

First Congressional District Representative Paolo Duterte, together with the Department of Labor Employment (DOLE) 11, led the distribution of the payouts, which was sent to the beneficiaries through a money remittance last Friday.

Among the beneficiaries who claimed the cash assistance are 301 sidewalk vendors, 1,807 sari-sari store vendors, 154 barbeque vendors, and 113 vulcanizing shop workers, all residents of the first district. Each beneficiary recieved P6,000.

Rep. Duterte said that their office is prioritizing assistance to the marginalized workers and the frontliners as well, in response to the public health emergency brought about by the Covid pandemic. He added that his office will continue to support those who are in need.

The lawmaker also said that his staff is continuously going around the areas under his jurisdiction to check whether there are sectors who have yet to receive assistance from the government, as its programs are intended for disadvantaged members of the community.

NPA ambush Army in Mati City

Armed men believed to be members of the New People’s Army ambushed a military vehicle along a national highway in the City of Mati Sunday morning, May 30. 

Initial report showed that the military’s KM450 vehicle was traversing the national highway around 8:40 in the morning when they were ambushed by about five NPA rebels positioned on top of the hill of Sitio Tagawisan, Barangay Badas. 

The rebels allegedly belong to WGF 18, SMRC while those ambushed were a squad from Alpha Company of the 66th Infantry Battalion led by Corporal Acieveda. 

The military personnel came from Brgy. Taguibo and were heading towards Banaybanay town when ambushed. 

The firefight lasted for ten minutes before the rebels withdrew. One Private Melendrez was hit at the back and was immediately rushed to the hospital for treatment. 

A team from the City of Mati LGU’s City Information Office tagged along with the pursuing police and military personnel at the top of the hill where the NPA rebels positioned. 

Footsteps from the rebels’ vantage point going towards the innermost area of the hill could be seen. Authorities also discovered a cleared area in the hill that could have been the rebels’ temporary camp prior to the ambush incident. 

The rebels are believed to have withdrawn towards Barangay Culian. 

Unconfirmed reports say that the NPA rebels could be preparing for the rescue of one of their high-ranking leaders who was recently captured in North Cotabato. The said NPA leader was said to be responsible for the 2015 attack in Mati Police station.

https://youtu.be/8hRc3JdZiTc

CONDEMNATION 

City of Mati Mayor Michelle Nakpil Rabat meanwhile condemned the latest atrocity by the lawless armed group. 

“Today’s incident along the national highway in Sitio Tagawisan, Barangay Badas is unfortunate and we condemn such atrocious act by lawless armed group. For almost two hours, traffic was halted along the main thoroughfare which serves as the only road for our farmers to bring their products to our markets. For two hours, many livelihood were affected. This brings to light the fact that armed struggle is not the way to bring peace and development to our city, to our people,” Rabat said in a released statement Sunday. 

“I want to assure all Matinians that the City of Mati LGU is doing its best to counter the possible adverse effects this incident may bring to our city’s economy. Rest assured that the police and the military, with the support of the local government, are doing their best to prevent similar incident from happening again.We appeal to the public to remain calm and vigilant. Daghang salamat ug amping kamong tanan,” the mayor added. 

Traffic along the national highway was halted for almost two hours affecting hundreds of travelers and traders. It resumed around 10:25 Sunday morning.

Bong Go urges gov’t to fast-track further vaccine rollout in order to reach essential workers and indigents soon while his team delivered aid to Davao Oriental indigent residents

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go once more urged the government to further accelerate the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in order to reach essential workers as well as poor and vulnerable sectors belonging to the A4 and A5 priority groups as his team conducted an activity for the vulnerable and indigent residents of Baganga town in Davao Oriental on Friday, May 21.

“Magtiwala kayo sa bakuna at sa ating gobyerno para makabalik na tayo sa dati. Alam ko ‘yun rin ang inaasam ninyo at pinagdarasal nating lahat,” Go started in a video message.

“Bagama’t limitado ang supply, unti-unti nang dumadating ang mga bakuna. Kaya nananawagan ako sa ating gobyerno na bilisan na ang vaccine rollout. Dapat walang masayang na bakuna, dapat maibigay na ito sa mga Pilipino sa susunod na priority groups na willing magpaturok,” he continued.

The Senator’s team handed out meals, vitamins, masks and face shields to a total of 383 beneficiaries, composed of farmers, indigenous peoples and former rebels at the Barangay Salingcomot covered court.

Selected beneficiaries were given new pairs of shoes while some were provided bicycles for their daily commuting needs. Others received computer tablets to help their children better participate in their classes under the blended learning set-up.

The same activity was also held in Mati City on the same day. Each distribution was carried out in batches to ensure the necessary health and safety protocols were strictly observed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Kailangan namin ni Pangulong [Rodrigo] Duterte ang kooperasyon ninyo upang malampasan natin ang krisis na ito. Huwag tayo maging kumpiyansa. Kahit na nabakunahan na kayo, mag-social distancing at magsuot pa rin kayo ng mask at face shield dahil hindi natin alam kung sino ang positibo dito sa COVID 19,” urged Go.

The Chair of the Senate Health Committee went on to offer his assistance to beneficiaries or their family members who are in urgent need of medical care. He advised indigent patients to visit the Malasakit Center, a one-stop shop for government medical assistance programs, located at the Davao Oriental Provincial Medical Center in Mati City.

The Malasakit Center streamlines the process of requesting assistance from the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. There are currently 113 Malasakit Centers nationwide.

During the activity, personnel from the DSWD were likewise present to distribute financial assistance and additional food packs as part of a holistic set of interventions by the government for communities in crisis situations.

The Department of Agriculture provided farmers with separate financial assistance, supplies of vegetable seeds and fingerlings. It also conducted an assessment for its livestock allocation program.

Meanwhile, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority offered scholarship grants and livelihood training courses to qualified beneficiaries. The Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Trade and Industry assessed potential beneficiaries for their respective assistance programs.

In his message, the Senator recognized the local government officials for continuing to serve their constituents in the midst of a pandemic and other crises. He specifically thanked 1st District Representative Corazon Nuñez-Malanyaon, Governor Nelson Dayanghirang, Baganga Mayor Arturo Monday, Boston Mayor Rowell Rosit and Cateel Mayor Erlinda Nuñez.

To create more jobs and attract investments, Go has supported the funding for the improvement or construction of access roads leading to declared tourism destinations, including Pilot’s View in Sitio Bobon and the white sand beaches in Brgy. Salingcomot; the construction of the Binondo-Sitio Mantapay road; and the repair of the Gov. Chavez Street in Brgy. Central. He also supported the funding for the establishment of a potable water system in Baganga.

On Tuesday, May 18, the Senator’s representatives also joined in the ceremonial turnover of checks and groundbreaking of the Balai Maganahay housing project in Mati City. They extended aid to a total of 100 indigenous beneficiaries at the Brgy. Dawan covered court.

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Bong Go sends additional aid to one hundred indigenous beneficiaries of NHA housing project in Mati City, Davao Oriental

In demonstration of his commitment to the welfare of indigenous peoples, representatives from the Office of Senator Christopher “Bong” Go joined in the ceremonial turnover of checks and groundbreaking of the Balai Maganahay organized by the National Housing Authority in Mati City, Davao Oriental on Tuesday, May 18.

The Balai Maganahay is a housing project under the Housing Assistance Program for Indigenous Peoples of the NHA.

“Sa mga kababayan ko na Dabawenyo, ipagpatuloy natin ang serbisyo para sa ikagiginhawa ng ating mamamayan, lalong-lalo na sa mga kababayan natin na bahagi ng indigenous communities. Sa mga makakatanggap ng bahay pagkatapos ng proyektong ito, sana ay maging inspirasyon ito upang makamit ninyo ang isang masagana at maunlad na kinabukasan,” Go began in a video message.

“At sa lahat ng makakatanggap ng cheke, sana naman po’y gamitin ninyo ang perang ito upang pagbutihin ang inyong pamumuhay at abutin ang inyong mga pangarap,” he continued.

Following the ceremony, Go’s representatives handed out meals, vitamins, masks, and face shields to a total of 100 indigenous beneficiaries at the Barangay Dawan Covered Court. The distribution was carried out in batches and health and safety protocols were likewise strictly observed throughout the activity.

Meanwhile, personnel from the Department of Social Welfare and Development provided financial assistance as part of the national government’s interventions for communities in distress. The Department of Trade and Industry also conducted an assessment of beneficiaries seeking alternative livelihood options.

As Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Go renewed his call to open the vaccine rollout to the A4 and A5 priority groups, so the government can prioritize the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to poor and vulnerable sectors outside the initial categories.

Being the principal author and sponsor of the ‘Malasakit Centers Act of 2019’, Senator Go offered to help any beneficiary and their family in need of medical care and advised indigent patients to visit the Malasakit Center, a one-stop shop located at the Davao Oriental Provincial Medical Center in Mati City.

The center streamlines the process of requesting assistance from the DSWD, Department of Health, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

The Senator, in his message, went on to thank the local officials for their untiring service amid the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Among those present during the activity were Governor Nelson Dayanghirang; Mayor Michelle Nakpil Rabat; Vice Mayor Glenda Rabat-Gayta; Councilors Cheeno Almario, Stephen Uy, Rogelio Pabio, Avelino Capiña, Jr., Anthony John Rabat, Xander Acantara, Delfin Miones, Arman Valera, Pedrito Peña, Jr., and Edwin Barrera; and Tribal Chieftain and Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative Arnold Baligia, Jr.

He likewise recognized the members of the Indigenous People’s Council, namely Ivan Guias, Yolanda Tribunalo, Satorino Langoban, Prudencio Melocotones, Romeo Catog, Ermelino Clemente, Fulgencio Baligia, Roger Macal, and Hermogenes Tiana Sr.

To help facilitate the development of Mati City, Go has supported the funding for the rehabilitation of the Buso Hot Spring Park in Mati City, the building of the Davao Oriental Sports Complex in Brgy. Don Martin and Marundan, and the construction of the Dahican – Lawigan – Bonbon – Dahican Circumferential Road.

“Ang proyekto at programang ito ay patunay sa malasakit at pagkalinga ng ating gobyerno para sa mga Pilipino, lalo na sa mga mahihirap na walang kalaban-laban sa panahon ngayon. Sisikapin namin ni Presidente Rodrigo Duterte na walang Pilipino ang maiiwan sa ating pagbangon mula sa pagsubok na dala ng pandemya at mga kalamidad,” ended Go.

The Senator also virtually participated in the ceremonial Memorandum of Agreement signing, turnover of checks, and groundbreaking of the Masandag Tribal Village in Tagum City, Davao del Norte the day after, May 19. His team distributed aid to hundreds of indigenous housing beneficiaries following the activity.