SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go personally attended the launch of the country’s 98th Malasakit Center at the Casimiro A. Ynares Sr. Memorial Hospital in Rodriguez, Rizal last Tuesday.
It is the fourth Malasakit Center in Rizal, in addition to the Antipolo City Hospital System Annex IV, Bagong Cainta Municipal Hospital, and Margarito A. Duavit Memorial Hospital. It is also the 52nd in Luzon.
In his speech, Go recognized the service and sacrifices of medical workers and other frontliners as they continue to work tirelessly to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Nagpapasalamat ako sa lahat ng frontliners. Sa mga doktor, nurse, pati pulis. Hindi basta-basta ang ginagawa niyo, lalo sa panahon na ito. Ipaglalaban namin ang kapakanan ninyo,” he said.
As Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, Go vowed to fight for the welfare of the members of the medical community, in particular, amid reported delays on the release of the active hazard pay and special risk allowance benefits.
“Ang sahod at benefits na dapat mapunta sa inyo ay dapat ibigay. Kapag may reklamo kayo, sabihin niyo sa akin at ako mismo ang magsasabi o magbubulong kay Pangulo [Rodrigo Duterte],” vowed the Senator.
“‘Yung mga (responsible na opisyal na) nag-delay ng benefits ng mga namatay na doktor, ngayon suspendido na. Isipin niyo, hindi basta-basta ang mamatayan ng mahal sa buhay. Bakit natin sila pinahihirapan kung pwede namang gawing isang linggo o tatlong araw ‘yan?” he demanded.
On a related note, Go urged the many decent employees of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation to safeguard taxpayers’ funds and join the fight against corruption to ensure that Filipinos are receiving the medical care they need.
“Kami ni Pangulo, hindi kami titigil labanan ang korapsyon sa PhilHealth. Kaya natin ipinagpaliban ang increase sa kontribusyon ay dahil rin maraming nawalan ng trabaho… Saan sila kukuha para sa kontribusyon? Masakit bumunot ng pera sa bulsa na pinagpawisan nila at masasayang at nanakawin lang ng iilang empleyado r’yan sa PhilHealth,” said Go.
“Kaya tulungan niyo kami ni Pangulo na labanan ang korapsyon at ibalik natin sa tao ang pera na kanila, lalong-lalo na ang mga pasyente na walang matakbuhan na halos nagmamakaawa mapahaba lang ang buhay nila,” he added.
To improve access to health care, President Duterte signed Republic Act 11463 or the ‘Malasakit Centers Act of 2019’ on December 3, 2019. The law directs the establishment of a Malasakit Center in the Philippine General Hospital in Manila City and the 73 hospitals administered or managed by the Department of Health.
Pioneered by the former Special Assistant to the President and now Senator Go, the Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop that gathers together the national agencies offering medical assistance in a single room. They include the DOH, Department of Social Welfare and Development, PhilHealth, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. Its primary aim is to reduce the hospital bill balance to the lowest amount possible with government shouldering the cost of expenses.
“Bakit natin pahihirapan ang ating mga kababayan kung pwede naman natin bilisan ang proseso? Pera nila ‘yan. Walang pinipili itong Malasakit Center. Basta Pilipino ka, qualified ka sa Malasakit Center,” explained Go.
He then thanked the many individuals who supported the Malasakit Centers program and contributed to its continuing success. They include Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino and Assistant Secretary Girlie Veloso, Mr. Victor Neri of the DSWD, Governor Rebecca A. Ynares, Vice Governor Reynaldo San Juan, Jr., and Mayor Dennis L. Hernandez, among others.
After the event, the DSWD distributed financial assistance to 143 indigent patients. Go’s office also provided each patient with a food pack, vitamins, masks, and face shields. Selected members of the hospital staff received bicycles to help with their commute. Others with children studying under the blended learning set-up were provided with tablets.
The senator also promised to assist Maricel Camposon, aged 39. The mother of three, whom he met en route to the event, is in urgent need of surgery. Upon Go’s request, the DSWD likewise provided her with financial assistance to cover her immediate medical needs while the hospital offered additional aid.
“Huwag kayo magpasalamat sa amin ni Pangulo Duterte. Kami ang nagpapasalamat sa inyo dahil binigyan niyo kami ng pagkakataon na makapagserbisyo sa inyo. Hindi namin ito sasayangin hanggang sa huling araw ng aming termino,” he ended.
Go also assured frontliners, as well as poor and vulnerable sectors, that they will be prioritized once a safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19 is approved and sufficient supply is made available.