SENATOR and chair of the Senate Committee on Health Christopher “Bong” Go personally attended the launch of the country’s 96th Malasakit Center at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City on Friday, December 18.
This is the seventh hospital in Quezon City to open a Malasakit Center, the others being East Avenue Medical Center, Lung Center of the Philippines, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Novaliches District Hospital, Philippine Children’s Medical Center, and Philippine Heart Center.
Go reiterated during his speech that the fight against COVID-19 is far from over. As Christmas nears, he emphasized that the best gift to loved ones is the gift of good health — as he also expressed his deep-felt gratitude to the medical community for their service and sacrifice in battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Sa mga frontliners, doctors, nurses and other health workers, lalo na dito sa Veterans Memorial Medical Center, maraming salamat sa inyong serbisyo sa panahon na ito. Gaya ng mga sundalo, kayo ang pinapadala sa gyera. Kayo ang inaasahan ng bansa sa laban natin sa COVID-19,” he said.
Go reassured that he cares deeply for the issues affecting health workers and the healthcare system, and vowed to continue fighting for measures which aim to protect and benefit them.
“Noong naging Senador ako, inuna ko ang Salary Standardization 5 para i-increase ‘yung salary ng mga government workers (kasama diyan ang government medical workers). Pinaglaban at naglaan rin tayo ng budget para sa (increase ng) salary-grade ng mga nurses,” continued Go.
“Makakaasa kayo na ipaglalaban ko ang inyong kapakanan….Lapitan niyo kami, lalo na pagdating sa health issues dahil napaka-importante sa akin ang kalusugan ng mga Pilipino,” he said.
Go also shared President Rodrigo Duterte’s unwavering commitment to improve the welfare of military veterans and their families who have sacrificed in different ways to help ensure the nation’s peace and security.
“Mahal na mahal ni Pangulo ang mga sundalo. Kakaupo lang niya, nangako siya na i-dodoble niya ang sahod ng mga sundalo at ako ang inutusan niya noon para kausapin ang mga Senador. Isa lang ang mensahe niya: kung hindi nila maipapasa, ma-aapprove ang batas, magreresign siya,” said Go.
“Hindi basta-basta ang trabaho ng isang sundalo. Sila ay mga bayani na nagbubuwis ng buhay. Kaya andito ang inyong ospital. Sana ay makakatulong rin itong Malasakit Center,” he added.
The Malasakit Center is one-stop shop which brings together the government agencies from which Filipinos may seek medical assistance, namely the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
It aims to reduce to the lowest amount possible the balance of the hospital bills of those who seek its assistance. It covers patient services and expenses, such as laboratories, medicines, surgeries and operations.
Go authored and sponsored the measure that became Republic Act No. 11463, otherwise known as the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019. The bill was signed by President Duterte on December 2019.
For extending their support to the Malasakit Centers program, the Senator thanked Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, Vice Mayor Gian Carlo G. Sotto; 2nd District Councilor Mikey F. Belmonte; Lieutenant General Allen T. Paredes, Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force; Department of National Defense Undersecretary for Civil, Veterans, and Reserve Affairs Reynaldo B. Mapagu; Undersecretary of Health Leopoldo J. Vega, who heads the One Hospital Command; Major General Adriano S. Perez Jr. of the Philippine Army; and DSWD Usec. Mark Allan Jay Yambao, among others.
Meanwhile, the DSWD also provided financial assistance to a total of 295 ward patients in VMMC after the activity. Go’s staff also provided meals, food packs and vitamins to the same beneficiaries.
Go’s team also gave bicycles to selected hospital staff members so they can commute to work with ease amid the pandemic. Others received tablets so their children can participate better under the blended learning approach that schools are implementing.
“Nagpapasalamat kami ni Pangulo Duterte dahil binigyan niyo kami ng pagkakataon para pagsilbihan kayo. Hindi namin sasayangin ang pagkakataon na ito. Magserserbisyo kami sa inyo sa abot ng aming makakaya,” vowed Go.
On the same day, the senator visited Dasmariñas City, Cavite and Paco, Manila to distribute aid to 650 indigent residents and 527 families or 940 fire victims, respectively.