BUTUAN CITY – To provide medical assistance to the townsfolk in Siargao, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go led on Saturday the opening of the 125th Malasakit Center in the country.
Go was joined by Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar and top provincial officials led by Governor Francisco Matugas and 1st District Representative Francisco Jose Matugas during the opening ceremony.
The facility is situated at the Siargao Island Medical Center (SIMC) in the town of Dapa.
In his message, Go, the chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, said it will serve all the residents in the municipalities of Burgos, Dapa, Del Carmen, Gen. Luna, Pilar, San Benito, San Isidro, Santa Monica, and Socorro.
“The Malasakit Center is for all Filipinos. The center will serve all those who are needing medical assistance, especially here in Siargao Island,” he said, noting that around two million Filipinos have already been served by the centers nationwide.
The Malasakit Center is a one-stop-shop that helps poor and indigent patients through the support of government agencies that include the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), and Department of Health (DOH).
“Personnel from these agencies are present in Malasakit Centers and are ready to provide assistance to our people,” Go said. “Siargao is an island separated from the mainland Surigao del Norte. Our residents here experienced difficulties in availing of medical assistance as they need to go to the mainland. With the Malasakit Center here at the Medical Center, people will no longer go to the mainland to avail of the medical services and assistance from the government.”
The senator noted that the conversion of Siargao District Hospital into the SIMC was among the measures he sponsored at the Senate and was already signed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
On Nov. 13, 2020, the Chief Executive signed Republic Act 11500 that upgraded the Siargao District Hospital into a Level II General Hospital and named it the Siargao Island Medical Center.
Support to farmers, fisherfolk
Meanwhile, Go, together with Andanar and officials of the DSWD and Caraga Region, also visited the town of Del Carmen to provide financial assistance to farmers and fisherfolk through the Aid and Humanitarian Operations Nationwide (AHON).
AHON is a convergence program involving different government agencies tasked to provide aid and social services to communities affected by calamities, emergencies, and the continuing threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
The senator led the distribution of cash assistance to 100 farmers and fishers, 40 of whom were also provided with livestock support and motorized boats.
Residents in the town also received food packs, face shields, face masks, and vitamins from the office of Go and the other officials present.
A number of individuals likewise received bikes and shoes while some students were provided with tablets to use in their studies.
Go assured the people of Del Carmen that the government is doing its best to help them recover from the impact of the pandemic. (PNA)