Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Tuesday, October 9, joined the launching of the Malasakit Center at the Gregorio T. Lluch Memorial Hospital in Iligan City, providing easier and better access to government medical assistance to Iliganons and residents of nearby towns and cities.
The Malasakit Center in Iligan is the 43rd in the country and 12th in Mindanao.
The launch was led by Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV). OPAV was a partner of the Office of the Special Assistant to the President in establishing earlier Malasakit Centers when Go was still with the executive branch.
During his message, Go said that healthcare is one of the priorities of the President, which prompted him to file a bill institutionalizing Malasakit Centers in the country.
“Prayoridad po namin ni Pangulong Duterte ang kalusugan ng bawat Pilipino. Gusto po niya na maging libre na ang pagpapagamot, lalo na para sa mga mahihirap. Sa katunayan nga po, nabanggit ni Tatay Digong sa kanyang SONA nitong taon ang hangad niya na lumawak pa ang sakop ng mga Malasakit Center sa bansa,” said Go.
“Dahil sa kagustuhang ito ng Pangulo, nag-file po ako noong Hulyo sa Senado ng Malasakit Center Act of 2019 na layuning i-institutionalize na ang mga centers na ito sa lahat ng DOH-run hospitals para mas marami pa silang Pilipino na matulungan,” the senator added.
Senate Bill 1076, or “An Act Establishing Malasakit Centers in all Department of Health Hospitals in the Country, and Providing Funds Therefor,” aims to “provide medical and financial assistance to indigent and financially incapacitated patients” through one-stop shops called Malasakit Centers. The process of providing government assistance to the recipients is streamlined in these offices.
The bill has so far received enormous support from other senators and the Lower House has also began deliberations on similar measure.
“Sa kabutihang palad, napakarami po sa ating mga kapwa senador ang nagpakita ng kanilang suporta sa adhikain nating ito. Matagumpay din po nating nadepensahan ang panukalang batas sa interpellation period nito sa Senado,” Go said.
Asked on his other plans to improve the country’s healthcare system during an ambush interview, Go said that he has filed for additional measures addressing other health concerns of Filipinos.
“Ako, nagpasa ako ng mga panukalang batas para ma-improve ang kapakanan ng atin mga barangay health workers, 911 para sa buong bansa, pag-expand ng immunization program ng gobyerno at mas lalong mapaganda ang nursing education sa bansa,” Go responded, enumerating the health-related bills he filed in the Senate in July.
Go filed in July SB 392, or the “Barangay Health Workers Act of 2019”, to ensure that enough BHWs are serving the country’s barangays; SB 394, or the “Emergency Medical Services System (EMSS) Act of 2019”, which provides for an emergency services program to Filipinos akin to Davao’s 911; SB 395, or the “Advanced Nursing Act of 2019”, which seeks to amend Republic Act No. 9173 (Philippine Nursing Act of 2002), providing for an advanced nursing education program; and SB 398 that provides for the expansion of the coverage of the existing mandatory basic immunization program of the government under RA No. 10152.
“Pero I’m here to oversee na magamit ng maayos ang pera ng gobyerno para sa kalusugan ng mga Pilipino,” the senator, who is also chair of Senate Committee on Health, added.
The senator also said that he will coordinate with the Department of Health to see how the department can assist private hospitals that need funds to provide healthcare services.
Meanwhile, he reminded those who need medical assistance to go to the nearest Malasakit Centers, especially that the country is currently embattled with various public health concerns.
“Ngayon po may polio outbreak, at iba pang health concerns. Kung kailangan po ninyo ng tulong, dumulog lamang po kayo sa pinakamalapit na Malasakit Center. Pera po ninyo iyan. Ibinabalik lamang sa inyo,” said Go.
Go added that he seeks the institutionalization of such centers so that Filipinos can benefit from them even when President Rodrigo Duterte is no longer president.
“Basta ako, itinataguyod ko na ma-institutionalize ang mga one-stop shop na ito para kahit hindi na pangulo si President Duterte, makinabang pa rin dito ang mga Pilipino,” he said. (senate.gov.ph)