143rd Malasakit Center opens in Tangub City, Misamis Occidental

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.

142nd Malasakit Center opens its doors in Valenzuela City

As part of Bong Go’s pursuit of improved access to quality health care in the country

On Thursday, October 7, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go personally attended the launch of the country’s 142nd Malasakit Center at Valenzuela Medical Center in Valenzuela City as part of his many efforts to improve health services and reduce health disparities in the country.

This is the second Malasakit Center in the city following the one in Valenzuela City Emergency Hospital which was launched in August of 2019. It is also the 27th Malasakit Center in Metro Manila, and the 77th in Luzon.

In his speech, Go, who also serves as the Chair of Senate Committee on Health and Demography, cited that after witnessing the struggles of low-income Filipinos to get quality health care, it pushed him to develop more health care policies that aim to improve access to medical care services.

“Ang Malasakit Center po ay batas na, isinulong ko noon kasama si Congressman Wes, Congressman Eric, Senator Win Gatchalian. Ang target po ng Malasakit Center zero balance para wala na po kayong babayaran sa inyong pagpapaospital. Para po ‘yan sa mga poor and indigent patients. Basta Pilipino ka, qualified ka po sa Malasakit Center,” Go explained.

“Sabi ko bakit natin pahirapan ‘yung Pilipino… eh sa totoo lang pera n’yo ‘yan. Pera n’yo ‘yan, inyo po ‘yan, dapat po ibalik sa inyo sa mabilis na serbisyo. Iyan po ang Malasakit Center, inyo po ‘yan,” Go continued.

The Malasakit Center brings together partnered agencies, including the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, to work hand in hand and ensure that medical assistance programs are more accessible to particularly poor and indigent patients.

Principally authored and sponsored by Go, the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019 mandates all DOH-run hospitals and the Philippine General Hospital to establish their own Malasakit Centers while other public hospitals may open their own provided they meet the standard criteria and can guarantee the sustainability of its operations.

In line with his hospital visits across the country, Go shared how he saw the challenges faced by many public hospitals which often lack the necessary resources and manpower to meet the needs of their patients. As he recently joined the race for the country’s second-highest post, Go committed that he will continue to push for measures that will enhance and improve hospital services all over the country.

“Hindi po ako titigil po sa mga programang makakabuti po sa ating mga kababayan, ipagpapatuloy ko po ang mga nasimulan,” Go emphasized.

“Tulad nitong Malasakit Center kung nakakatulong naman po sa mga kababayan natin, ipagpapatuloy natin,” he continued.

Senator Go conveyed his gratitude towards the hospital staff and other medical frontliners for their dedicated service to their community despite threats posed by the pandemic. On this note, the Senator, together with DOH, committed to help allocate necessary funds to further help improve the health services in Valenzuela Medical Center.

“Alam niyo, mga frontliners, hindi po nababayaran ng kahit ano man pong insentibo ang serbisyo ninyo ngayon. Kakaibang sakripisyo ang ginagawa ninyo at napakahirap po nitong labang ito,” Go expressed.

“Kaya sa mga frontliners, kaunting tiis lang po, habaan niyo po ang inyong mga pasensya, kayo po ang nakakaalam sa laban na ito, kumbaga sa sundalo, kayo ‘yung sinasabak sa giyera,” he added.

Go then appealed to the public to participate in the national vaccination program as he reiterated that vaccines against COVID-19 will not only boost their body’s defenses but will also help in the country’s return to normalcy.

Following the approval of President Rodrigo Duterte to open the vaccination roll-out to the general public, Go asked local leaders to work closely with the national government to ensure an efficient vaccination drive in their community.

“Huwag kayong maging kumpyansa kahit na bumababa ang kaso dahil po ‘yan siguro naging epektibo na po ‘yung pagpapabakuna. So ngayon po, mayroon na tayong 76% na po ng Pilipino ang bakunado, patungo na po tayo sa population protection at herd immunity. Pero huwag pa rin maging kumpyansa,” Go appealed,

“Antayin muna natin makamtan natin yung herd immunity, huwag ho natin sayangin ‘yung pinagpaguran natin na makamtan ngayon,” Go added.

After the launch, Go’s outreach team distributed grocery packs, meals, masks, face shields, and vitamins to 136 patients, and 830 frontliners. Some of them also received new pairs of shoes, bicycles, or computer tablets.

Furthermore, representatives from the Department of Social Welfare and Development gave financial assistance to the patients and 337 rank and file employees of Valenzuela Medical Center.

In an interview, Iris Flores, 37, mentioned that even if she is fully vaccinated, she struggles everyday knowing that her job as a utility worker in the hospital makes her more prone to the virus but she remains dedicated to sustain her family’s needs.

“Sir Senador Bong Go, talagang hindi n’yo pinapabayaan kaming lahat na mahihirap at mga nangangailangan ng tulong po sa inyo. Maraming, maraming po salamat po, Senador Bong Go, saka po kay Mr. President Duterte,” Flores expressed.

Meanwhile, Valenzuela Medical Center Chief Dr. Maria Estrella B. Litam appealed in her speech to continue focusing on primary health care to ensure that more of their constituents can access quality medical services.

“I hope we can finally see it rising with your help and with your endorsement. Kung sino man tayo at ano man tayo, alalahanin natin na we are all Filipinos and we are working for the Filipinos,” Litam expressed.

The ceremony was also attended by Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino, Office of the President Assistant Secretary Girlie Veloso, Undersecretaries Jonjie Gonzales and Debold Sinas, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III, Representatives Weslie “Wes” Gatchalian and Eric Martinez, Mayor Rexlon “Rex” Gatchalian, and many others.

Senator Go then proceeded to visit the Malasakit Center in Valenzuela City Emergency Hospital to monitor and personally check and assist to the needs of the center.

As Vice Chair of Senate Committee on Finance, Go extended his support in the acquisition of ambulance units, and the construction of a seven-storey Valenzuela Center for Academic Excellence in Brgy. Malinta to ensure the economic recovery of the community.

139th Malasakit Center opens in Quezon City

As Bong Go reaffirms continued efforts to improve country’s health care system

On Monday, September 13, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go virtually attended the launch of the 139th Malasakit Center at Quirino Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City.

This is the 10th Malasakit Center in the city, in addition to the Lung Center of the Philippines, Novaliches District Hospital, Philippine Heart Center, Philippine Children’s Medical Center, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, East Avenue Medical Center, Veterans Memorial Medical Center, Philippine Orthopedic Center, and National Children’s Hospital.

In his speech, Go explained that the start of the Malasakit Center was a shared vision with President Rodrigo Duterte after they have personally witnessed the struggles of low-income families in seeking medical attention considering that most services are beyond their financial means.

“Kaya noong naging Pangulo siya (Duterte) naglagay tayo ng Malasakit Center sa Cebu. Sinubukan muna natin, sinubukan natin hanggang more than 300,000 na po ang natulungan po sa Cebu,” Go said.

“At ngayon po’y naging Senador po ako, isinabatas po natin itong Malasakit Center tuloy-tuloy po ang pagbubukas ng Malasakit Center, batas na ito ngayon. So, lahat po ng mga DOH-run hospitals ay magkakaroon ng Malasakit Center at hindi po kami titigil kung papaano pa po makatulong sa mga kababayan natin,” he added.

Principally authored and sponsored by Senator Go, Republic Act No. 11463, otherwise known as the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, mandates all hospitals administered and managed by the Department of Health and the Philippine General Hospital in the City of Manila to establish Malasakit Centers.

Other public hospitals may also establish their own provided they meet a standard set of criteria and guarantee the sustainability of their operations.

RA 11463 was one of the priority bills of the senator as part of his commitment as Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography to improve public health delivery to those in need, especially amid an ongoing pandemic.

“Wala na po akong nakikitang dahilan na hindi natin matulungan at masuportahan ‘yung mga mahihirap nating mga pasyente,” Go expressed.

“Napakahirap ng maging mahirap, lalung-lalo na po sa panahon ngayon na wala po silang matakbuhan. Ayaw ko pong mangyari na naghihingalo po ang ating mga kababayan na wala silang matakbuhan po,” he added.

Go reaffirmed in his remarks that through the joint efforts of the Department of Health and his office, Quirino Memorial Medical Center will be granted additional funds on top of the previously allotted budget to further support and improve the hospital.

“The more Malasakit (Centers) na puwede nating buksan, mas mabuti po at pakiusap ko lang naman sa susunod na administrasyon, kung sino man po ang papalarin ay sana po’y ipagpatuloy ninyo ang mga programang magaganda, nakakatulong naman po sa mga kababayan natin sana po’y ipagpatuloy ninyo,” Go noted.

Given the critical situation of hospitals nationwide caused by the alarming rates of COVID-19, Go then mentioned that he will continue to push for more measures that will enhance and expand the capabilities of the country’s health care system.

“Talo po nila ako sa debate doon pero hindi po ako sumusuko, pinaglalaban ko kahit isang linggo kami, alam naman natin na sinasadya lang patagalin para lang po pahirapan ‘yung mga hospital bills (in the Senate),” Go shared.

“Papaano po gagaling ‘yung pasyente, isang kama, apat na pasyente. Baliktad, dapat ng handa tayo, dapat nga mayroon tayong apat na hospital beds sa isang pasyente para ready po ‘yung tatlo lalong-lalo na po ngayon na nasa pandemya po tayo, hirap po ang ating mga kababayan,” he continued.

The Senator then commended medical frontliners for their selfless service, saying, “hindi po nababayaran ng kahit ano pa man ang sakripisyo niyo sa panahong ito kaya huwag niyo pong pabayaan ang mga kababayan natin.”

“Ospital talaga ng takbuhan ngayon lalong-lalo na po ang Quirino Memorial Medical Center, ‘yan po ang isa sa mga takbuhan ng ating mga kababayan sa panahon ng COVID, salamat po sa inyong sakripisyo,” he added.

As the Senator prioritizes the health and well-being of Filipinos, he then encouraged residents to take part in the vaccination program against COVID-19 as this would greatly help the medical frontliners; at the same, he mentioned that getting vaccinated will significantly contribute to the country’s return to normalcy.

He then reiterated his appeal to the government to look into the possibility of extending the vaccine roll-out to the general public to ensure population protection and herd immunity eventually.

“Importante po na nababalanse natin sa pagbabakuna. Napatunayan naman po sa datos ‘pag ikaw ay bakunado mas maiiwasan po ‘yung pagka-severe o pagkamatay,” Go said.

“Hindi po basta-basta makakuha ng bakuna sa ngayon, napakahirap po. Kaya importante huwag po nating sayangin. Kung ano ‘yung bakunang nasa harapan ninyo magpabakuna na ho kayo para protektado po kayo,” Go appealed.

After the event, Go’s team gave essentials such as grocery packs, meals, masks, face shields, and vitamins to 359 patients and 1,928 medical frontliners. Meanwhile, representatives from the Department of Social Welfare and Development gave financial assistance to the patients and 878 rank-and-file hospital employees.

Go also gave computer tablets, bicycles, and new pairs of shoes to select recipients.

Senator Go then thanked Representative Allan Benedict Reyes, Mayor Maria Josefina Tanya “Joy” Belmonte, Office of the President Assistant Secretary Girlie Veloso, Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino, Dr. Evelyn Victoria Reside, and other local officials for ensuring their constituents get necessary support during these trying times.

“Pakiusap lang, magtulungan lang tayo, magbayanihan po tayo, at magmalasakit tayo sa ating kapwa Pilipino. Kami naman po ni Pangulong Duterte ay hindi po kami titigil sa pagseserbisyo upang malampasan natin itong krisis na ito,” he ended.

First Congressional District Office distributes wheelchairs for senior citizens

DAVAO CITY – The office of the First Congressional District Representative Paolo “Pulong” Duterte initially distributed on Thursday over 300 wheelchairs to seven barangays here in the city.

The recepient barangays were Catalunan Grande, Catalunan Pequeño, 5-A, Matina Aplaya, Dumoy, Ma-a, and Magtuod, all situated under the First District.

Catalunan Grande barangay councilor Nicolasa Morata said that there were senior citizens who earlier requested a wheelchair, as some are having difficulty walking because of their respective health conditions.

“Gisabutan pa namo sa barangay karon ang proseso sa pag distribute aning wheelchairs. Naay lima among ibilin sa barangay para magamit sa vaccination sites,” Morata said.

Morata also said that they have to assess the senior citizens who are really in need of wheelchairs. She added that there are 3,857 senior citizens in Catalunan Grande.

NHA Madelwadan Ma-a Senior Citizen Chapter head Jaime Calledo, Sr. echoed the same concern. He said the seniors will be happy with the young congressman’s kind assistance.

Masca Matina Aplaya Senior Citizen Association head Theresita R. Baniog also thanked the First Congressional District Office for the immediate assistance. She said these wheelchairs will surely be utilized by the intended beneficiaries.

The First Congressional District Office has been giving either cash and in-kind assistance to its constituents. Aside from wheelchairs, the senior citizens of the first congressional district continue to receive free maintenance medication monthly from the young Duterte’s Office.

Bong Go reiterates: “Count me out of 2022 election talks”; says PRRD determined to fight corruption

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go repeated his previous appeal to be counted out for a higher position in the upcoming national elections in 2022, but thanked all those who have expressed their support for him.

“Nagbigay na po ako ng statement ukol dito, I have reiterated many times, sabi ko, please count me out, please count me out muna. Kung maaari, ako na lang po ‘yung pinakahuli sa listahan ninyo,” said Go during his visit to fire victims in Quezon City on Tuesday, June 29.

The Senator said that he is currently focusing on helping the country cope and beat the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Gusto ko munang unahin itong krisis na ito na malampasan natin… let me repeat. I am not interested. ‘Yan rin po ang sinabi ko kanila Sec. Cusi at sa mga kasamahan ko sa partido. Ayaw ko munang pag-usapan ang pulitika,” Go stressed.

“Ang focus natin is paano po malampasan itong pandemyang ito. Bakuna muna bago ang pulitika. Baka wala na tayong pulitikang pag-uusapan kung hindi natin malampasan itong krisis na ito. Darating rin tayo diyan pagdating ng Oktubre.

“Sa ngayon po ang focus ko muna, nakatutok po ako sa pagseserbisyo sa ating mga kapwa Pilipino na naghihirap po sa ngayon. Priority ko po ang pagseserbisyo sa ating kapwa Pilipino. ‘Yun lang po ang focus ko ngayon, para malampasan muna natin itong pandemyang ito,” he added.

He, however, thanked everyone who has been urging him to seek a higher position. Go said that while he understands the challenges that go with the job, the Senator remained firm that he is not interested.

“Salamat po sa lahat ng tiwala, let me repeat. I am not interested. Alam ko po gaano kahirap ang trabaho ng isang Pangulo. Nasa tabi po ako ni Pangulo halos araw-araw noon. Napakahirap po ng trabaho ng isang Pangulo. Lalung-lalo na po ngayon nasa gitna tayo ng pandemya,” Go explained.

“Pagod na pagod na po ako, pagod na pagod na po kami ni Pangulong Duterte. Ngunit kayo po ang nagbibigay lakas sa amin para makapagserbisyo pa po at malampasan muna natin itong krisis na ito,” he added.

Meanwhile, after claims of fellow Senator Manny Pacquiao that corruption exacerbated under the Duterte Administration, Go said that the President will continue to go after corrupt officials and is determined to stamp corruption out of the government.

“Nakapagsalita naman po ang Pangulo at alam n’yo, kung (gaanong) galit po si Pangulong Duterte sa mga corrupt na opisyal. Ang gusto lang po mangyari ni Pangulong Duterte… ginagawa po ni Pangulong Duterte ang lahat ng kanyang makakaya para sugpuin po ang korapsyon,” said Go.

“Though hindi talaga totally pa rin po na-eliminate ‘yung corruption, pero sinisikap po ng ating mahal na Pangulo na mawala ang corruption,” he added.

President Duterte challenged Pacquiao in his most recent Talk to the People address to name corrupt government institutions and personnel that the latter was pertaining to. This is to verify the senator’s assertion that corruption is worsening despite the President’s efforts to remove unscrupulous public officials and employees.

“Kaya nagsalita lang po ang ating mahal na Pangulo na pangalanan po, in fairness, sa kanyang official family, sa kanyang administrasyon na hindi lang po maakusahan. Ang hinihingi lang naman po ni Pangulong Duterte ay katotohanan nga lang po. Magsabi kayo ng totoo, bukas naman po ang opisina ni Pangulong Duterte, alam n’yo naman po sinisibak n’ya talaga ang lahat ng corrupt sa gobyerno,” explained Go.

“Kahit na kasamahan niya noon pa, kahit na tumulong sa kanya noong kampanya, basta pumasok ka sa corruption, sibak ka talaga,” he added.

Go, then, mentioned that he knows Duterte very well and that he will never tolerate corruption under his watch.

“Kilala ko po si Pangulong Duterte at seryoso po ‘yung kanyang kampanya. Wala po siyang sinasanto. Kung may nakakalusot, tulungan n’yo po siya,” said Go.

“Kaya nga po pangalanan n’yo po kung sinuman po ‘yong totoong mga magnanakaw sa gobyerno dahil galit po si Pangulong Duterte sa mga corrupt,” he ended.