MANILA – With the continuing “bayanihan” (community support) to confront tremendous challenges plaguing the country, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go has expressed optimism that the situation would soon return to normal.
Go made this remark as he led the launch of the country’s 94th Malasakit Center in San Fernando City, La Union on Friday. The Malasakit Center was the first to be established in La Union and third in Ilocos Region.
In his speech, Go reassured that President Rodrigo Duterte is doing everything he can to address the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic and the recent natural and man-made disasters to the country’s economy.
“Hindi kayo pinapabayaan ni Pangulong Duterte kaya huwag kayo maniwala sa mga sinasabi ng iba. Alam ko mismo na nagtatrabaho ‘yan… ang importante mayroon tayong tao na nagpapagitna sa panahon ng krisis na ito kasi kung walang matibay na nagpapagitna, magkakagulo tayo (President Duterte is not neglecting us so don’t believe to what other people say. I know very well that he is working. What important is we have someone intervening in this time of crisis because if not, there will be chaos),” Go said.
Once a safe and effective vaccine for Covid-19 becomes available, he assured that Duterte will give priority to the poor and vulnerable.
“Kumapit tayo at magtulungan. Hindi namin kayo pababayaan dito sa La Union (Let’s help each other. You will not be neglected here in La Union,” he vowed. “Pag mayroon ng safe na vaccine, uunahin namin ni Pangulong Duterte ang lahat ng mahihirap at vulnerable para makabalik na kayo agad sa normal ninyong pamumuhay (Once vaccine becomes available, President Duterte will prioritize the poor and vulnerable so that you can go back to your normal lives).”
He said front-liners, medical workers, uniformed personnel, and teachers will also be given priority once vaccine becomes available.
As chair of the Senate committee on health, Go recognized the sacrifice and dedication of the country’s front-liners, most especially the health workers who are treating the sick and the uniformed personnel who are ensuring order despite the threats posed by the pandemic.
He urged everyone to remain vigilant and prioritize their health by complying with the government-issued guidelines and protocols.
He reminded them to stay at home when possible and to wear mask and face shield as well as to practice physical distancing when in public.
“Mag-ingat po tayo at sumunod sa mga patakaran bilang pagmamalasakit rin sa ating kapwa. Kung patuloy tayong magbabayanihan, mas mabilis nating malalampasan ang mga pagsubok na ito (Let’s take care of ourselves and follow the guidelines to show our concern for others. If we will continue to work together, we will soon hurdle these challenges),” he said.
He also thanked individuals who extended their support to the Malasakit Centers and continue to fulfill their respective mandates to serve their constituents.
Among those who attended the event were Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rolando D. Bautista, Budget and Management Secretary Wendel E. Avisado, Governor Francisco Emmanuel Ortega III, Vice Governor Mario C. Ortega, 1st District Rep. Pablo C. Ortega, San Fernando City Mayor Hermenegildo A. Gualberto and Vice Mayor Alfredo R. Ortega, and San Juan Vice Mayor Manuel R. Ortega Jr.
Go also acknowledged other representatives of national agencies who joined the launch like DSWD Regional Director Marcelo Castillo, Department of Health (DOH) Regional Director Dr. Valeriano Lopez, PhilHealth representative Jerilyn Felipe, Philippine Charity Sweepstake Office (PCSO) representative Lalaine Martos, and Department of Tourism Regional Director Jeff Ortega.
The Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop wherein Filipino patients can conveniently apply for medical assistance from the relevant government agencies. These agencies are the DOH, DSWD, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation and PCSO.
Go said all 94 Malasakit Centers in the country are ready to assist every Filipino, particularly the poor and indigent patients, who are in need to pay hospital bills.
Under Republic Act 11463, otherwise known as the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, all hospitals run by the DOH all over the country and the Philippine General Hospital in Manila are mandated to establish their own Malasakit Centers.
“Tuluy-tuloy po itong Malasakit Center dahil para sa amin ni Pangulong Duterte, hindi dapat natin pinahihirapan ang mga pasyente. Kundi dapat tulungan natin sila para hindi na sila pa pila-pila sa iba-ibang ahensya ng gobyerno para humingi ng tulong (Malasakit Center will stay because for us, including President Duterte, the patients should be assisted in asking help from different government agencies),” Go said.
For his part, Avisado gave his assurance that sufficient funding is allocated for the continued operations of all Malasakit Centers as well as for the existing medical assistance programs of various agencies.
After the event, Go’s staff distributed meals and food packs to 100 poor patients while the DSWD provided each beneficiary with separate financial assistance.
Some members of the hospital staff received bicycles from Go so they can commute to work with ease amid limited transportation options. Others were given tablets which their children can use to better participate in blended learning being implemented in schools. (PNA)