Continuing his commitment to providing Filipinos convenient access to quality healthcare services nationwide, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go personally attended the launch of the 132nd Malasakit Center at Adela Serra Ty Memorial Medical Center in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur on Saturday, 31 July.
The Malasakit Center is the second established in the province as the first was launched on July 10 at Lianga District Hospital in Lianga. It is also the sixth in Caraga region and 33rd Malasakit Center in Mindanao.
During his remarks, Go reaffirmed that the government will continue to develop measures that will ensure that poor and indigent patients will continue to conveniently get the medical attention they need.
“Puntahan lang ninyo itong Malasakit Center. Kapag mayroon kayong bill sa ospital, lapitan niyo lang ito tutulungan nila kayo hanggang maging zero balance at wala na kayong babayaran sa inyong ospital.” Go expressed.
“Sa mga pasyente diyan, lapitan niyo lang ang Malasakit Center ha. Wala nang dahilan para hindi kayo matulungan. Walang rason para hindi kayo matulungan,” he continued.
Being the Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Go expressed his concern that most Filipinos are hesitant to seek medical care as the majority of health services cost beyond their financial means.
Earlier, Senator Go authored and sponsored Republic Act No. 11463, otherwise known as the Malasakit Centers Act, where its primary function is to help reduce patients’ medical expenses to the lowest amount possible by covering the fees of various hospital services, such as laboratories, medicines, and surgeries, among others.
Under the said measure, all hospitals administered and managed by the Department of Health and the Philippine General Hospital shall establish their Malasakit Centers so that low-income patients may easily avail of medical assistance offered by DOH, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
Other public hospitals may also establish their own provided they meet a standard set of criteria and guarantee the sustainability of its operations.
“Nung unang panahon, marami sa mga kababayan natin ang kinakailangang pang lumabas ng ospital at pumila sa iba’t ibang ahensya ng gobyerno para humingi ng tulong. Ubos na panahon nila, ubos pa ang pera nila sa pamasahe. Mangungutang at ibebenta pa niyan ang kalabaw para may maibayad sa naiwang balanse,” said Go.
“Ngayon, hindi na nila kailangang gawin ‘yan. Kung may billing kayo sa ospital, puntahan niyo lang ang Malasakit Center at tutulungan kayo nito para wala na kayong babayaran,” he added.
As part of his advocacy to look after the well-being of Filipinos, Go gave recognition to the medical frontliners for staying in the forefront of the battle against COVID-19. He then appealed to them to continue catering their services to those in need. Go also reassured that he will continue to initiate necessary support for medical workers and health professionals.
“Sa lahat ng frontliners, doctors, nurses, sa lahat, utility man, janitor sa lahat na nandito sa ospital, even military and pulis, maraming salamat sa inyong pagsakripisyo sa panahon ngayon,” Go remarked.
“Isa sa pinaka-importante ngayong panahon, hindi mababayaran ang inyong serbisyo sa panahon ngayon. Mula sa amin ni Presidente Duterte, maraming salamat sa lahat ng mga frontliners sa inyong serbisyo,” Go added.
Go, then, urged the public to participate in the national vaccination program, especially those who are part of the priority groups. The Senator said that the vaccines will not only boost their immunity against severe threats of the virus, but getting inoculated will also help medical frontliners maintain the stability of the healthcare system amid the pandemic.
“Kung makikinig kayo at maniniwala kayo, salamat mula sa amin ni Presidente Duterte. Magtiwala kayo sa bakuna, huwag kayong matakot sa bakuna. Ang bakuna ang susi o solusyon para unti-unti na tayong makabalik sa normal natin na pamumuhay,” said Go.
“Mayroon na tayong 30 million na doses na dumating. Huwag na ninyong sayangin, please lang, libre ang bakuna. Atin ‘yang pinaghirapan hanapin, pakiusapan ang ibang bansa para lang (magkaroon) tayo ng bakuna dito sa atin sa Pilipinas,” he added.
Apart from the Malasakit Centers Act, Go has successfully pushed for the Salary Standardization Law 5 which raises the minimum salary of more or less 1.4 million government employees, including public nurses, in four tranches starting from 2020 until 2023.
“Huwag kayong mag-alala, sa mga frontliners, doctors, nurses, ipaglalaban ko kayo. At isa sa mga batas na inuna ko itong Salary Standardization V Law na pinirmahan na ni Presidente Duterte at kasama lahat ng government workers natin sa tulong ni Congressman Pichay,” Go said.
“Basta nandito ako sa likod ninyo at handang magtrabaho para sa inyo. Hindi ko na kailangan na pumunta sa harapan, sabihan niyo lang ako at kung ano ang puwede kong maitulong sa inyo,” he added.
Ending his message, Go acknowledged the presence of Assistant Secretary Girlie Veloso of the Office of the President, Representative Prospero Pichay, Governor Alexander Pimentel, Tandag City Mayor Roxanne Pimentel, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Eric Montesclaros, and Medical Center Chief Dr. Janice Pagaran-Alcordo.
After the launch, Go’s staff handed out grocery packs, meals, masks, face shields, and vitamins to 103 patients, and 894 medical frontliners. There were also selected recipients of new pairs of shoes, bicycles, and computer tablets.
The DSWD also provided patients and 522 rank-and-file employees of ASTMMC with financial assistance through their Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation program.
To boost the economic development in the province, Go extended his support to several projects in Surigao del Sur, including the rehabilitation of roads in Barobo, Bislig City, Cagwait, Carmen, Madrid, Marihatag, San Agustin, San Miguel, and Tago; construction and rehabilitation of multi-purpose buildings in Barobo, Bayabas, Carmen, Cortes, Hinatuan, and Tagbina; construction of evacuation centers in Bislig City, and Carmen.
Likewise, Go helped in the acquisition of a fire truck, mini dump truck, and video surveillance in Bayabas; acquisition and installation of street lights in Hinatuan; and procurement of ambulance units in Cortes, Lanuza, Lianga, and San Agustin.
Earlier that day, the Senator also attended the launch of the 131st Malasakit Center at the Democrito O. Plaza Memorial Hospital in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur.