By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go encouraged Filipinos
to prioritize their health and highlighted the Duterte
Administration’s efforts to address gaps in health care access,
particularly for the urban poor, through the Malasakit Centers
The senator reminded Filipinos that they could avail themselves of the various
public medical assistance programs from the government following the
launch of the newest Malasakit Center in Metro Manila, expanding the
initiative’s presence in the region.
“Masaya ako at sunod-sunod ang pagbubukas ng mga centers. Tiwala akong
magiging malaking tulong ito sa mga kababayan natin, lalung-lalo na sa
mga walang matakbuhan at maaasahan kundi ang gobyerno,” said Go.
“Dito niyo makikita ang puso ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte para sa mga
mahihirap. Sinimulan namin ito dahil ayaw naming pinapahirapan sila.
Binabalik lang nito ang pera at serbisyo na dapat sa inyo sa
pamamagitan ng mabilis at maaasahang serbisyo mula sa gobyernong
palaging nagmamalasakit sa inyo,” he added.
To simplify and improve the process for requesting medical-related
aid, the center brings together under one roof the different national
agencies from which patients may avail of medical assistance. The
agencies are the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare
and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and
Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
The one-stop-stop aims to reduce a hospital bill to the lowest amount
possible by covering various patient services and expenses, pursuant
to Republic Act No. 11463 or the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, which
Go principally authored and sponsored in the Senate.
More than three million poor and indigent patients have benefitted
since the program was initiated in 2018. There are now 142 fully
operational Malasakit Centers nationwide, 77 of which are in Luzon, 29
in Visayas, and 36 in Mindanao.
In Metro Manila, a total of 27 DOH-run and other public hospitals have
opened Malasakit Centers, including the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial
Hospital, Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center, San Lazaro Hospital,
Tondo Medical Center, and the Philippine General Hospital in Manila.
In the 2nd District, centers have been launched at the National Center
for Mental Health in Mandaluyong City; Amang Rodriguez Memorial
Medical Center in Marikina City; Rizal Medical Center in Pasig City;
San Juan Medical Center in San Juan City; and the Lung Center of the
Philippines, Novaliches District Hospital, Philippine Heart Center,
Philippine Children’s Medical Center, National Kidney and Transplant
Institute, East Avenue Medical Center, Veterans Memorial Medical
Center, Philippine Orthopedic Center, National Children’s Hospital and
Quirino Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City.
Meanwhile, the Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital in Caloocan
City; Ospital ng Malabon in Malabon City; Navotas City Hospital in
Navotas City; Valenzuela Medical Center and Valenzuela City Emergency
Hospital in Valenzuela City in the 3rd District have also opened their
Similar centers may also be found at the Research Institute for
Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa City; Ospital ng Parañaque in
Parañaque City; Pasay City General Hospital in Pasay City; and
Taguig-Pateros District Hospital in Taguig City in the 4th District.
“Isa lang po ang bilin namin ni Pangulong Duterte sa mga doctors at
social workers sa mga ospital na ito, ‘wag niyong pababayaan ang mga
kababayan nating helpless, hopeless at walang matakbuhan. Maraming
pasyente ang takot at maikli ang pasensya sa panahong ito but, please,
extend your patience as we do our best to help more patients,”
In return, the Senate Health Committee Chair vowed to work closely
with the administration to ensure the aforementioned hospitals are
properly and adequately staffed and equipped to address the ongoing
public health crisis. He continues to advocate for the welfare of
health workers to make sure they are protected, supported, and
equipped to safely fulfill their mandate of saving lives.
“Tulad ng ipanangako namin ni Pangulong Duterte, walang tigil ang
trabaho at serbisyo para sa mga Pilipino. Bukas ang aming opisina kung
may gusto kayong hingin na tulong. 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 continued.
“Pakiusap ko nalang sa mga susunod na administrasyon, sana ipagpatuloy
niyo po ang mga programa ng administrasyong ito na walang ibang
layunin kundi magbigay ng serbisyong mabilis, maayos, at maaasahan
para sa bawat Pilipino,” he appealed further.
Despite filing his candidacy for Vice President for the upcoming
national elections, Go stressed that his focus remains on fulfilling
his mandate as a senator and in ensuring public service delivery amid
the ongoing crisis.
“Sabi ko nga, mamaya na muna ‘yung pulitika, tapos na ‘yung filing,
let’s go back to work. Unahin po natin ‘yung pagseserbisyo para sa
ating mga kababayan bago ang halalan. At bakuna muna bago pulitika,”
Go stressed the need to keep improving governance to meet the evolving
needs of Filipinos, especially at a time when the ongoing pandemic has
changed everyone’s way of life.
“It is for this reason that I continue to prioritize improving the
delivery of key public services, such as health care, in keeping with
President Duterte’s commitment to a more responsive and compassionate
government by bringing public services closer to those in need,” he