‘Promise fulfilled’ as Go brings gov’t health services closer toMarindukanons with launch of 144th Malasakit Center

‘Promise fulfilled’ as Go brings gov’t health services closer to
Marindukanons with launch of 144th Malasakit Center

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Senator Christopher “Bong” Go congratulated the people of
Marinduque on the launch of the country’s 144th Malasakit Center at
the Marinduque Provincial Hospital in the capital town of Boac on
Tuesday, October 19.

The center is the first in the province and part of a wider effort by
the Duterte Administration to bring public health services,
particularly medical assistance, closer to the people, especially in
rural and underserved areas.

“Ipinangako ko ito sa inyo nung huli akong pumunta dito. Sabi natin
kung qualified naman ay maglalagay tayo ng Malasakit Center dito sa
Marinduque para makatulong sa mga kababayan natin para ‘di na nila
kailangan pumunta ng ibang isla para humingi ng tulong,” said Go
highlighting the fulfillment of his promise.

Marinduque is an island province located in the southern part of
Luzon. It is separated from mainland Luzon by Tayabas Bay. Owing to
its being an island, residents requiring more substantial government
assistance often have to travel by boat and go to the mainland.

“Para hindi kayo mahirapan, nandito na ang mga ahensya sa inyung
ospital. Ginawa natin ito upang maging mas mabilis ang paghahatid ng
serbisyo. Lalo na ngayong panahon ng pandemya, kailangan ang gobyerno
ang lumapit sa ating mga kababayan,” he added.

In 2019, Go principally authored and sponsored the measure that became
Republic Act No. 11463, also known as the Malasakit Centers Act, after
being elected as a senator.

The Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop which brings together the
agencies which offer medical assistance, namely the Department of
Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine
Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes
Office, under one roof.

Similar centers in the MIMAROPA Region have also been opened at the
Occidental Mindoro Provincial Hospital in Mamburao, Oriental Mindoro
Provincial Hospital in Calapan City, Ospital ng Palawan in Puerto
Princesa City, and Romblon Provincial Hospital in Odiongan.

“Zero balance ang target nito para wala na kayong babayaran. Kung
kulang ang tulong ng mga ahensya, mayroong inilaan din na dagdag pondo
si Pangulong (Rodrigo) Duterte. Pakiusap nalang namin sa mga doktor at
social worker, ‘wag niyong pabayaan ang ating mga mahihirap na
kababayan, ‘yung helpless, hopeless at walang matakbuhan,” appealed
Go.

The senator thanked the frontline health workers for their sacrifices
and vowed to extend all necessary support to ensure the hospital can
continue to provide proper care for patients.

He specifically reiterated his commitment to push for the passage of
Senate Bill No. 2421 which he co-sponsored and takes into
consideration an earlier bill that Go authored. The bill provides for
a COVID-19 Risk Allowance in lieu of the special risk allowance and
other financial compensation granted under the Bayanihan 2.

“Hindi nababayaran ng kahit ano man ‘yung sakripisyo ninyo sa panahon
ngayon. Kaya ipaglalaban ko ang inyong kapakanan. Iyung sinasabi
nilang exposed lang ‘yung bibigyan ng risk allowance, napaka-unfair
nun! Hindi kami papayag ng ganoon dahil hindi naman natin nakikita
‘yung COVID. Pagpasok mo palang sa ospital, dapat considered exposed
kana,” he explained.

As the nation continues to confront the pandemic, Go then praised the
government’s efforts to accelerate the vaccination drive which has so
far administered 54.8 million doses of vaccines, including 28.3
million first doses and 24.5 million second or single doses.

“Paalala ko sa ating mga kababayan, kung gusto niyo tulungan ang mga
health workers, kung gusto niyo bumaba ang mga kaso at hindi mapuno
‘yung ospital, magpabakuna na kayo. Wala namang ibang paraan para
makamtan natin ang population protection at herd immunity sa ngayon,”
said Go.

“Napatunayan natin ngayon sa Metro Manila, dahil 77% (of eligible
adults) na ang fully vaccinated, na bumababa ‘yung mga kaso. Kung
mababa ang kaso, mabubuksan natin muli ang ekonomiya. ‘Pag bukas ‘yung
ekonomiya, makakabalik kayo sa trabaho at may laman ang tiyan niyo.
Alam niyo, hindi lang COVID ang kalaban natin ngayon, kagutuman rin
po,” he warned.

Following the ceremony, his staff handed out meals, food packs,
vitamins, masks, and face shields to a total of 303 health workers and
50 patients. They also gave select health workers shoes or bicycles
for their daily commute or computer tablets for their children to use
in school.

Moreover, personnel from the DSWD distributed financial assistance to
each patient and 190 rank-and-file employees of the hospital.

In an interview, the family members of some of the hospital’s youngest
patients expressed their gratitude for the new Malasakit Center and
appealed for further assistance from the senator so they can avail the
best possible treatment for their loved ones.

“Nanay ako ni Clara Maiella Abetria, two years old, may congenital
(problem)… Everytime na oospital si Clara, lumalaki ang bill namin.
‘Yung two months namin sa (Philippine General Hospital), halos umabot
ng 400 to 500 thousand ang bill. ‘Yung oxygen niya, inaabot 8,000 din
per month,” said Richelle Abetria.

“Hihingi po sana kami ng tulong kay Senator Bong Go na matulungan kami
sa gastusin sa hospital… Sana matulungan din kami maluwas ang aking
anak sa Manila para sa mapalitan ang tracheostomy tube nila. Wala po
kasi magpapalit dito ng ganun kasi maselan ang operasyon at kulang ang
espesyalista para sa ganun,” added Diovani Abertria after appealing to
Go for help.

Despite filing his candidacy for vice president for the upcoming
national elections, Go maintained that his focus remains on fulfilling
his mandate as a senator and ensuring that no Filipino will be left
behind towards recovery amid the ongoing health crisis.

“Huwag muna natin pag-usapan ang pulitika ngayon. Unahin muna natin
malampasan ang pandemyang ito. ‘Yun ang hinihintay ng mga Pilipino.
Magtulungan, magmalasakit at magbayanihan tayo at hindi nalalayo na
baka bumalik na tayo sa normal natin na pamumuhay,” encouraged Go.

He and his team then proceeded to the Marinduque State University
campus in Boac where they handed out assistance to 557 residents
affected by a recent calamity.

“Ako naman, gaya ng ipinangako ko sa inyo noon ay pupuntahan ko ako
kahit saan sulok kayo ng Pilipinas para magbigay ng tulong sa inyo,
makapagbigay ng solusyon sa inyong mga problema at makapag iwan ng
kaunting ngiti sa panahon ng pagdadalamhati,” he ended.

Among those present with Go was Speaker of the House Lord Velasco,
Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino,
Governor Presbitero Velasco Jr., and other national and local
government leaders including Chief of Hospital Dr. Manuel Zaratan. (ai/mtvn)

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