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.