Bong Go joins Aurora Day celebration

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Sunday, 19 February, joined in the celebration of Aurora Province’s 44th founding anniversary and the 135th birthday of Aurora Quezon, the province’s namesake.

“I congratulate the people of Aurora province sa inyong tuluy-tuloy na pag-unlad simula noong naging ganap kayong probinsya after separating from (your) mother province of Quezon in 1979,” greeted Go.

“Happy 44th Anniversary po sa Aurora Province at Happy 135th Birthday po kay Aurora Quezon. Nakakatuwa po na after 44 years, napakaganda po ng probinsya ng Aurora ngayon. Alagaan n’yo po. Ang ganda ng lugar ninyo at ang gaganda ng mga tourist spots n’yo dito,” he added.

In his message, Go commended those who have worked tirelessly for the development of Aurora, including Senator Ronald Dela Rosa who also joined the festivities, Senator Sonny Angara who has long been serving the province and its people, Governor Christian Noveras, Vice Governor Gerardo Noveras, Aurora Lone District Representative Rommel Angara, Baler Mayor Rhett Ronan Angara, Casiguran Mayor Roy Soriano, Dinalungan Mayor Manuel Torres, Dipaculao Mayor Danilo Tolentino, Dilasag Mayor Joe Gorospe, Dingalan Mayor Shierwin Taay, Maria Aurora Mayor Ariel Bitong, San Luis Mayor Ariel De Jesus, and other local officials.

The senator, who serves as Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, also supported several initiatives in the province that aim to create new economic opportunities and improve living conditions, such as the construction of Reserva-Ipil Road in Baler and Dipaculao, acquisition of garbage trucks and water system improvement in San Luis, among others.

“Ilapit po natin ang serbisyo ng gobyerno sa ating mga kababayan. ‘Wag nating pahirapan ang ating mga kababayan na sila pa ang magmamakaawang humingi ng tulong sa gobyerno. Tayo dapat ang lumapit sa kanila,” urged Go.

“Asahan n’yo, gagawin ko po ang lahat sa abot ng aking makakaya para makatulong at makapagserbisyo sa inyo at sa inyong probinsya. Hindi po ako mangangako… magtatrabaho lang po ako para sa ating kapwa Pilipino,” he added.

Aurora province was named after Aurora Quezon, wife of former Philippine president Manuel Quezon who was in position from 1935 to 1944. The Philippine National Red Cross was founded as a stand-alone Red Cross organization in 1947 with Aurora’s support. She was elected the organization’s first chairperson and remained in that role until her death in 1949. Aurora was also elected honorary vice-president of the Philippine Tuberculosis Society, which seeks to combat the illness that claimed her husband’s life.

Meanwhile, Go, who is the Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, also personally conducted a monitoring visit of the Malasakit Center at the Aurora Memorial Hospital in Baler to ensure its continuing operations.

The Malasakit Center in Baler was launched through Go’s initiative during the Duterte administration. It is the 72nd Malasakit Center which has been in operation since 2 July 2020.

Under Republic Act No. 11463 or the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, which was principally authored and sponsored by Go, all hospitals that are administered and managed by the Department of Health, plus the Philippine General Hospital in Manila City are mandated to have their own Malasakit Center.

Hospitals run by local government units and other public hospitals may also establish their own centers provided that they meet a standard set of criteria in accordance with the law and guarantee the sustainability of their operations.

The Malasakit Centers are one-stop shops that provide convenient access to medical programs offered by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, DOH, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. It aims to reduce to the lowest amount possible the hospital bill of those who seek its assistance. It covers patient services and expenses, such as laboratories, medicines, surgeries, and operations.

This month, the program celebrated its fifth anniversary. According to DOH, the Malasakit Centers program has helped more than seven million Filipinos so far with 154 Malasakit Centers opened nationwide.

DOH also said that efforts are being made to broaden the scope of assistance available in Malasakit Centers while PhilHealth is strengthening its financing strategies to prevent patients from having to pay out-of-pocket costs.

After the monitoring visit, Go and his team also distributed food packs, masks, vitamins, and meals to 19 patients and more than 250 front liners in the hospital. They also gave away a bicycle, cellular phone, shoes, watch, shirts, and balls for basketball and volleyball to select beneficiaries.

A team from the DSWD also extended financial assistance to indigent patients and 124 qualified hospital employees.

Go then reaffirmed his commitment to continue expanding public health facilities nationwide and improving Filipinos’ access to affordable healthcare, particularly those in poor, rural, or far-flung communities.

“Ako naman po, gaya ng sinabi ko kanina, asahan n’yo po na tutulong pa rin po ako, lalung-lalo na po sa medical services dahil hindi natin alam kung ito na ba ang huling pandemyang darating sa buhay natin. Mas mabuting handa tayo,” said Go.

“At bilang Committee Chair n’yo on Health sa Senado, asahan n’yo po na isusulong ko ‘yung mga makakatulong sa mga mahihirap tulad ng pagtatayo ng mga specialty center sa iba’t ibang mga rehiyon… Paramihin din natin ang mga makakabenepisyo sa Super Health Centers at Malasakit Centers,” he added.

Moreover, Go commended the inauguration of the Super Health Center in Dipaculao on the same day. He successfully pushed for the funding of some 307 SHCs nationwide in 2022 and at least 322 more this year in other parts of the country.

Services offered in Super Health Centers include database management, out-patient, birthing, isolation, diagnostic (laboratory: x-ray and ultrasound), pharmacy, and ambulatory surgical unit. Other available services are eye, ear, nose, and throat (EENT) service; oncology centers; physical therapy and rehabilitation center; and telemedicine, where remote diagnosis and treatment of patients will be done.

Go’s staff attended the blessing and inauguration of the Super Health Center in Dipaculao where they also aided struggling residents there. The senator was supposed to also visit Dipaculao town but was limited by time and weather constraints.

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