SENATOR and chair of the Senate Committee on Health Christopher “Bong” Go attended the virtual launch of the 91st Malasakit Center at the Angel Salazar Memorial General Hospital in the capital town of San Jose de Buenavista in Antique province.
The Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop for medical assistance from government. It is the first of its kind in Antique and the sixth in Western Visayas.
The senator, in his speech, first expressed his gratitude to the frontliners in the healthcare community for continuing to provide the best care and services possible to their patients and communities.
“Gusto ko pasalamatan ang administrative staff [ng mga ospital] at, lalong-lalo na, ang mga medical frontliners para sa inyong dedikasyon at sakripisyo sa inyong profession. Sa kabila ng peligro na dala ng COVID-19, patuloy pa rin kayong nagsasakripisyo para sa ating mga kababayan. Buhay ninyo ang nakataya dito kaya maraming, maraming salamat,” said Go.
He stressed the importance of ensuring the stability of the country’s healthcare system throughout this unprecedented time and expressed the government’s commitment to resolve issues of corruption confronting the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation.
“Pasensya na po dahil talagang may problema ang PhilHealth sa korapsyon […] Hindi kami titigil ni Pangulong Duterte. Tuloy-tuloy ang kampanya namin laban sa korapsyon sa gobyerno. Sa kung sino man ang napatunayang nagnakaw…sa pondo ng taumbayan ay talagang hahabulin at yayariin namin kayo,” he vowed.
“Pinagpawisan ng ating mga kababayan ang mga remittances diyan sa PhilHealth kaya sisiguraduhin namin na walang piso ang masasayang sa kaban ng taumbayan,” he continued.
Even before becoming a senator, Go already worked to ensure the efficient delivery of healthcare services to millions of Filipinos. After being elected as senator, he authored and pushed for the passage of a measure that would bring together the offices of the government agencies from which people may seek medical assistance, namely the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, PhilHealth and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
Republic Act No. 11463, also known as the Malasakit Centers Acts of 2019, was signed into law by President Duterte last December 2, 2019.
In his speech, Go also recognized local government officials and national agencies who have been tirelessly fulfilling their mandates and working hard to serve their constituents despite the ongoing crises. Among those present were House Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren B. Legarda, Governor Rhodora Cadiao, Vice Governor Edgar Denosta, Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino of Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, and other officials and representatives from DOH, DSWD, PCSO and PhilHealth as partner agencies of the Malasakit Center.
Go also took the opportunity to thank Deputy Speaker Legarda for her untiring support and helpful advice the past years. Legarda, for her part, praised the Senator for his continuing efforts to bring government services closer to the people. She specifically thanked him for conceptualizing and working to institutionalize the Malasakit Center program which seeks to make it more convenient for Filipinos in getting medical assistance from the government.
“I am very happy to support the vision of our hardworking and humble senator. I am so grateful that, as the representative of Antique [where we need] health care most, you have not forgotten us. In fact, you have made us part of the beneficiaries of the Malasakit Centers,” began Legarda.
“This is what we need in government indeed: convergence. ‘Wag natin pahirapan ang mga mahihirap na paikot-ikot, mahirap na nga, papahirapan pa […] I am extremely happy to share in your joy of this inauguration [of] the Malasakit Center that many indigent Antiqueños will benefit from because of your kind generosity. We are forever grateful,” she continued.
After the event, Go’s team distributed meals to the members of the hospital staff and patients. They provided selected staff members with bicycles so they may safely commute to work amid the travel restrictions. Others received tablets for their children to use to participate in the online classes being carried out by schools under the new blended learning approach. Meanwhile, the DSWD distributed cash assistance to 168 of the hospital’s patients.
“Nagpapasalamat kami ni Pangulo na binigyan ninyo kami ng pagkakataon para manilbilhan. Siya po ay isang mayor na ginawang president at ako naman ay isang ordinaryong staff niya na binigyan rin ng Panginoon ng pagkakataon na manilbihan sa inyo. Wala na po kaming hihilingin pa. Ibabalik namin sa tao ang serbisyo na dapat sa inyo,” promised Go. ####