Senator Christopher “Bong” Go virtually attended the opening of the Malasakit Center in West Visayas State University Medical Center in Jaro, Iloilo City on Thursday, 16 September.
As Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography and principal author of the Malasakit Centers Act, Go assured Filipinos of improved access to healthcare especially amid the ongoing pandemic.
The West Visayas State University Medical Center hosts the 141st Malasakit Center in the country, and the fourth in the province in addition to Western Visayas Medical Center in Iloilo City; Don Jose Monfort Medical Center Extension Hospital in Barotac Nuevo; and Western Visayas Sanitarium in Sta. Barbara that was launched earlier that day.
Go cited in his speech that the establishment of Malasakit Centers across the country is part of the commitment of the Duterte Administration to bring the government closer to the people and to improve access to the public healthcare system particularly to poor and indigent patients.
“Isa sa mga first five na Malasakit Center ay diyan po mismo sa Iloilo City… at noong naging Senador po ako, isinulong ko ito sa lehislatibo, pinirmahan ni Pangulong Duterte noong 2019, at ganap na batas na po ito ngayon,” Go shared.
“Sabi ko, bakit pa natin pahihirapan ang ating mga kababayan eh sa totoo lang po, pera nila ‘yan, pera ng Pilipino ‘yan, ibalik po natin sa kanila sa pamamagitan ng mabilis, maayos at may malasakit na serbisyo lalo na sa mga nangangailangan at walang matakbuhan,” Go said.
Go shared that in his more than 20 years in public service, he personally witnessed the struggles of underserved patients to get medical attention. This pushed him to open the first Malasakit Center in Cebu City in 2018.
A one-stop shop, the center aims to simplify the process of requesting medical-related assistance from the government. The concerned agencies are mandated to assist patients and reduce their hospital bills to the lowest amount possible by covering various patient services and fees.
The partner agencies are the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Health, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
“Nasa loob na ho ng ospital ‘yung apat na ahensya ng gobyerno – PhilHealth, PCSO, DOH, DSWD. Tutulong-tulong po ‘yan sila, mag aambag-ambag para po doon sa hospital bill ng pasyente hanggang maging zero po,” he added.
“Lapitan niyo lang po ang Malasakit Center, ‘pag may balanse kayo at hindi niyo na kailangan mangutang at mag-sangla, lapitan niyo lang po ang Malasakit Center para po ‘yan sa mga poor and indigent patients, tutulungan po kayo,” he continued.
Following his remarks, Go extended his appreciation towards the medical frontliners who continue to work hard and go beyond their duties to ensure that their community is safeguarded from the threat of the coronavirus.
He then noted that together with the joint efforts of the Department of Health and his office, necessary funds will be allocated to further improve and support West Visayas State University Medical Center.
“Rest assured po sa lahat ng mga frontliners, ipaglalaban ko po ang inyong kapakanan na mabigyan po ng pondo ‘yung Salary Grade 15 niyo po at even ‘yung kaunting deperensya sa salary grade ay pinaglaban rin po natin sa Executive. Ibigay po natin kung ano po ‘yung nararapat sa ating mga health care workers,” Go expressed.
He was also instrumental in the passage of the Salary Standardization Law 5, which he authored and co-sponsored in the Senate. The law gives nurses and other civilian government employees their fifth round of salary increases broken down in tranches.
Meanwhile in 2019, Go also pushed for and ensured enough funding was allocated for the implementation of a Supreme Court decision upholding Section 32 of the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002 which increased the minimum salary grade of the Nurse I position to SG-15, 18 years after the said law was enacted.
The Senator then reiterated his appeal to the public to get vaccinated in accordance with the national vaccine program guidelines.
“Napatunayan naman po sa datos. If you are vaccinated, you are protected. Sa mga 17 million mahigit na Filipinos na fully vaccinated, napakaliit na porsyento lang ang nag-severe cases o namatay. So kung mahal niyo po ang inyong mga anak at inyong mga pamilya, please lang magpabakuna na kayo,” Go appealed.
“Ngayon po, pinag-aaralan rin po ng gobyerno na ibukas na po sa general public by October ‘yung pagpapabakuna para naman po bigyan ng pagkakataon na makakapagpabakuna na po ‘yung mga gustong magpabakuna na wala pa sa priority list,” he added.
After the event, Go’s team handed out meals, masks, face shields, and vitamins to 118 patients and 1,180 medical frontliners. Meanwhile, staff from the Department of Social Welfare and Development granted financial aid to patients and 677 rank and file hospital employees, including janitors and security guards.
In addition, Senator Go also gave new pairs of shoes, bicycles, and computer tablets to select recipients.
Go also commended various government officials for making the Malasakit Center launch possible, including Representative Julienne “Jam-Jam” Baronda, Governor Arthur Defensor Jr., Mayor Jerry Treñas, Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino, Office of the President Assistant Secretary Girlie Veloso, and many others.
“Kami po ni Pangulong Duterte, nangako kami sa inyo na magseserbisyo po kami sa inyo sa abot ng aming makakaya. Patuloy po kaming tutulong upang malampasan po natin itong krisis na ito,” Go expressed.
“Alam niyo, mahirap talaga na maging mahirap. Kaya please lang huwag nating pabayaan ‘yung mga kababayan nating mahihirap,” he ended.
As Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, Go supported several projects that aims to improve and boost economic opportunities in the city. Among these are road construction in Jaro; acquisition of medical equipment; completion of health stations and construction of multi-purpose buildings in various barangays.
On the same day, Go’s staff carried out a series of distribution activities for thousands of struggling residents in the towns of Santa Barbara, San Enrique and Passi in Iloilo province.
Credit belongs to : www.tribune.net.ph