Senator Christopher “Bong” Go
MANILA – Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Friday attended the launch of the country’s 86th Malasakit Center at the Davao Oriental Provincial Medical Center in Mati City, Davao Oriental.
The newly opened Malasakit Center is the first in the province, fourth in the Davao Region, and 21st in Mindanao.
Go’s team also provided meals and gave away a few bicycles to medical front-liners in the hospital to help them travel to work given the limited public transportation at this time.
Meals and other forms of assistance were also provided to patients in the hospital on that day.
Expressing his concern for Filipinos who had to spend long hours in several queues just to seek government assistance, Go explained that the purpose of these one-stop shops is to ensure that Filipinos gain easier and more convenient access to medical and financial assistance from the government.
“Lahat ng poor and indigent patients, nasa batas naman ‘yun, basta Pilipino ka, qualified ka po sa Malasakit Center. Wala pong pinipiling pasyente ito,” Go said.
(All the indigent patients, it’s in the law anyway, as long as you’re a Filipino citizen, you are qualified for the Malasakit Center. There’s no patient that is singled out.)
In Malasakit Centers, patients or their representatives will only need to go to one office and fill up a unified form to request assistance, instead of having to visit government offices scattered in various locations. Also, an express lane for persons with disabilities and senior citizens is available.
“Ang Malasakit Center inyo ‘yan, walang pulitika dito. Nandiyan na sa loob ng ospital ang apat na ahensya ng gobyerno–PhilHealth, DOH, PCSO, DSWD,” he said.
(The Malasakit Center is yours, there’s no politics here. The hospital houses the four government agencies—PhilHealth, DOH, PCSO, DSWD.)
Concerned agencies extending medical and financial assistance housed in these centers are the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Health, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
With the enactment of the Republic Act No. 11463, otherwise known as the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, all hospitals run by the DOH all over the country and in the Philippine General Hospital in Manila are now mandated to establish their own Malasakit Centers.
On the other hand, hospitals run by local government units and other public hospitals may also establish their own Malasakit Centers provided that they meet a standard set of criteria and guarantee the availability of funds for the operation of their centers, including their maintenance, personnel, and staff training, among others.
During an ambush interview, Go said he seeks to hasten the process of upgrading public hospitals and augmenting their bed capacity with Senate Bill 1226, or the proposed DOH Hospital Bed Capacity and Service Capability Rationalization Act, a bill which aims to authorize the DOH to increase the bed capacity and service capability of its retained hospitals and to allow it to promulgate evaluation and approval guidelines.
Go added that the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, which he chairs, continues to work on improving the country’s healthcare facilities in terms of hospital bed capacity and service capabilities, especially during the pandemic.
He said 44 percent of hospital beds in the country are occupied by Covid-19 patients, saying what is important that the country’s health care system has not collapsed.
He said the government is slowly reopening the economy while still imposing necessary health and safety protocols to protect Filipinos amid the Covid-19 crisis.
Meanwhile, Go urged government agencies, particularly PhilHealth, to continue pushing for reforms to eradicate systemic corruption and to improve public service delivery.
“That is why nag-appoint po ang Pangulo ng bagong presidente ng PhilHealth — si Dante Gierran, taga-Davao din po ito, para linisin at imbestigahan ang PhilHealth at ibalik ang tiwala ng tao,” he added.
(That’s why the President appointed a new head of the PhilHealth—Dante Gierran, who is also from Davao, to clean and investigate the agency and restore the trust of the people.)
Go also reiterated that the Duterte administration will continue to intensify its fight against corruption and hold erring officials accountable to restore the integrity of the bureaucracy. (PR)