By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator and Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography
Christopher “Bong” Go assured Filipinos that Malasakit Centers
continue to be operational to improve access to healthcare,
particularly in the face of the existing pandemic.
During the submission of his Certificate of Candidacy for his vice
presidential bid in the 2022 elections on October 2, Go vowed for a
speedier and more efficient delivery of services in these centers.
“Sisiguraduhin nating magiging mabilis, maayos at abot-kaya ang
serbisyong pangkalusugan tulad ng naibibigay na tulong ng Malasakit
Centers sa mga nangangailangan,” said Go.
Go, who is the main proponent of the Malasakit Centers initiative,
principally authored the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019 which was
eventually signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte. He is
considered as the Father of the Malasakit Centers program now
institutionalized by Republic Act No. 11463.
The centers are one-stop shops for all government medical assistance
programs, putting together the Department of Health, Department of
Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office
and PhilHealth under one roof, making it convenient for particularly
poor and indigent Filipinos to access medical care.
There are presently 141 Malasakit Centers operating in the country.
The law mandates all DOH-run hospitals and the Philippine General
Hospital to establish their own Malasakit Centers. Other public
hospitals, including those run by local government units, may also
open their own provided they meet a standard set of criteria to ensure
the sustainability of its operations.
“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 during the launch of the Malasakit Center in
West Visayas State University Medical Center in Jaro, Iloilo City on
Thursday, September 16.
“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,” he
Go said that throughout his more than 20 years in public service, he
has seen firsthand how difficult it is for underserved individuals to
receive medical care. This prompted him to open Cebu City’s first
Malasakit Center in 2018.
“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 said.
“Wala ‘tong pinipili. Basta Pilipino at poor o indigent patient ka,
qualified ka sa Malasakit Center. Kung tatanggihan kayo, sabihin niyo,
‘karapatan ko ito bilang Pilipino’. Pera niyo ito na binabalik lang
namin sa pamamagitan ng maayos na serbisyo,” he added.
The Senator then pledged to keep fighting for better healthcare for
all Filipinos, particularly those in low-income, remote, and rural
“Bukas ang opisina namin ni Pangulo kung may gusto kayong hingin na
tulong,” he said.
“Hindi kami mangangako ng hindi namin kaya pero gagawin namin ang
lahat para tulungan kayo. Lalo na nasa gitna tayo ng krisis, panahon
ito para magmalasakit sa ating kapwa,” he assured.
Before being elected as a Senator, he served as the Special Assistant
to the President. Citing that a Senator’s job is not limited to
legislation only, Go has been at the forefront providing
representation and constituency services around the country, listening
to the pleas of the most ordinary Filipinos, bringing assistance
particularly in the midst of the pandemic.
“Hindi ko sasayangin ang bawat oras, minuto, o pagkakataon na
ibinibigay sa akin ng taumbayan na magserbisyo sa aking kapwa. Kapalit
ng inyong tiwala at suporta, ibabalik ko sa inyo ang serbisyong may
malasakit, tunay at nararapat,” Go said.
“I will continue to serve especially those who need government
attention the most — yung mga mahihirap po. I am determined to fulfill
my role as a bridge for the poor, the needy, the hopeless and the
helpless — connecting them to their government so that their voices
are heard and their concerns are addressed during these trying times,”
Go further explained. (ai/mtvn)