PASAY CITY -- Senator Christopher “Bong” Go personally attended the launch of the country’s 127th Malasakit Center at the Southern Tagalog Regional Hospital in Bacoor City, Cavite on Wednesday, July 7.
Go cited that the establishment of more Malasakit Centers is part of the Duterte Administration’s commitment to bring government closer to the people and improve public health delivery to those in need especially amid an ongoing pandemic.
This Malasakit Center is the 11th in the CALABARZON region and second in the province, in addition to the General Emilio Aguinaldo Memorial Hospital in Trece Martires City which opened last January 2020.
In his remarks, the Senator — who serves as Chair of the Senate Committee on Health — described the challenges faced by low-income patients in getting access to quality healthcare. He lamented that Filipinos living in poor areas often forego medical care or end up financially burdened due to medical expenses.
“Nung wala pa ang Malasakit Center, kailangang pang lumapit ng mga pasyente sa iba’t ibang opisina ng gobyerno para magmakaawa na tulungan sila. Lunes, pipila ‘yan sa city hall para humingi ng tulong kay mayor, Martes sa PhilHealth at Miyerkules sa (Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office),” began Go.
“Bakit ba natin sila pinapahirapan? Bakit kailangan pa nilang magmakaawa sa gobyerno kung pera naman nila ‘yan? Kaya isinulong ko sa Senado para maging batas 'to para kahit wala na kami ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte ay tuloy-tuloy lang ang programang ito,” he continued.
To address the need for an efficient integrated system for conveniently availing medical assistance, Go principally authored and sponsored the Malasakit Centers Act which the President signed into law in December 2019.
The center is a one-stop shop which streamlines the process of acquiring aid from the relevant agencies, namely PhilHealth, PCSO, the Department of Health, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development. It seeks to reduce a hospital bill to the lowest possible amount by covering various patient services and expenses.
“Isa lang pakiusap ko sa mga susunod na administrasyon, sana ipagpatuloy niyo ang mga programa gaya ng Malasakit Center dahil nakakatulong naman ito sa mga mahihirap. Bihira naman na pupunta sa mga pampublikong ospital ang mga mayayaman. Ang pumupunta dito ang mga mahihirap at walang matakbuhan,” said Go.
The Senator reminded the hospital staff to provide their poor patients with the necessary treatments and medical attention. He especially asked them to properly use government funds to provide sufficient care to those needing tests and medication. He promised to continue looking after the welfare of medical workers and health professionals.
“Bukas ang aking opisina sa lahat ng medical frontliners. Kung may reklamo kayo o may hindi sang-ayon sa inyo, sabihan niyo lang ako at isusumbong natin 'to kay Pangulong Duterte. Tutulungan ko kayo to the best of my abilities in my capacity bilang inyong committee chair (of health) sa Senado,” reassured Go.
Meanwhile, he reiterated his appeal to unvaccinated Filipinos belonging to priority sectors particularly medical frontliners to get inoculated so they can safely perform their duties. The concerned authorities, he said, have been directed to accelerate all vaccination efforts in order to move on to the next priority groups for inoculation.
“Patuloy po tayong magtiwala at mag-cooperate sa pamahalaan. Kailangan namin ang disiplina ninyo habang patuloy tayong nagbabakuna. So far, so good naman ang overall COVID-19 response natin at rollout ng mga bakuna,” explained Go.
”Pakiusap, magpabakuna na ang pwedeng magpabakuna. Basta pagdumating ito, i-deploy at iturok niyo na agad para makamtan na natin ang 'population protection’ ngayong taong ito,” he concluded.
Following the ceremony, Go and his team handed out meals, food packs, vitamins, masks and face shields to a total of 239 medical frontliners. They also gave selected recipients new shoes or bicycles while others received computer tablets for their children’s educational needs.
In addition, personnel from the DSWD also provided 131 rank-and-file hospital employees with financial assistance. Similar assistance were likewise extended to 56 indigent patients.
“Naka-admit ako ngayon dahil mahina na ang baga ko. Dati na akong nagka-COVID. Nung Monday, na-admit ako dahil may pneumonia daw ako ulit. Nagdadasal ako na gumaling ako para sa mga anak ko. Nagpapasalamat din ako sa Panginoon na medyo okay naman ang pakiramdam ko ngayon,” said Edna Badiola, 53.
“Humihingi ako ng tumulong kay Senator Bong Go para sa aking maintenance at iba pang gamot. Nagpapasalamat kaming mga pasyente para sa lahat ng ginagawa mo. Makakatulong ang Malasakit Center na ito sa mga walang-wala talaga. Sana ipagpatuloy niyo po ang adhikain niyo para sa mga mahihirap,” she continued.
The Senator also took the opportunity to recognize various officials for their untiring service amid the challenges of the pandemic, including Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, and Assistant Secretary Girlie Veloso of the Office of President.
He likewise thanked local officials such as Deputy Speaker and 2nd District Representative Strike Revilla, Governor Juanito Victor Remulla, Vice Governor Ramon Revilla III, Mayor Lani Mercado-Revilla, Vice Mayor Catherine Evaristo, and Chief of Hospital Dr. Ruby Ephraim Rubiano for their support and assistance.
In 2019, Go was declared an adopted son of the CALABARZON region in a manifesto issued by the governors of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon. They cited his many years of service under President Duterte and “heart for his country” through the various projects he initiated which have benefited millions of Filipinos.
“Wala na kaming mahihiling pa dahil binigay na ng Panginoon ang lahat. Kami ay mga probinsyano lamang, isa akong Batangueño na Bisaya. Ang mga lolo at lola ko ay nag-migrate sa Mindanao mula sa Santo Tomas at Tanauan. Isa akong ordinaryong empleyado na ginawa ninyong senador, kaya ibabalik ko sa tao ‘yung serbisyo para sa inyo,” Go previously stated.
It is in line with his commitment to Caviteños that Go supported the funding of various infrastructure projects in Bacoor City. The projects include the construction of slope protection structures along the Zapote River in Barangays Ligas and San Nicolas III; a revetment along the Bacoor River; construction of a multi-purpose building in Brgy. Mambog 3; and concreting of the road at Greenvalley in Brgy. San Nicolas 3, among others. (OSBG)