146th Malasakit Center opens in Las Piñas City, says Go

146th Malasakit Center opens in Las Piñas City, says Go

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go personally attended
the launch of the country’s 146th Malasakit Center at the Las Piñas
General Hospital and Satellite Trauma Center in Las Piñas City on
Wednesday, October 27.

This is the first Malasakit Center in the city and the 30th in Metro Manila.

“Sa twenty-three years kong pagsisilbi sa ilalim ni Pangulong Rodrigo
Duterte, nakita ko araw-araw ‘yung mga problema ng bansa. Maraming
mahihirap ang pumupunta ng Davao noon para humingi ng tulong sa
kanilang pampa-ospital. Ubos na panahon nila, ubos pa pera nila sa
pamasahe,” Go said in his speech, recalling his years of experience
helping poor and underserved patients in Davao City.

“Sabi ko, bakit ba natin pinapahirapan ang mga Pilipino kung pera
naman nila ‘yan. Kaya nung naging senador ako, itinulak ko ang
Malasakit Centers Act sa tulong ni Senator (Cynthia) Villar and
Congresswoman Camille Villar. Target nito ay ‘zero balance’ para wala
ng babayaran ang mga poor at indigent,” he explained.

To ensure patients have access to affordable, quality and
comprehensive health services, Go principally authored and sponsored
the bill that became Republic Act No. 11463 or the Malasakit Centers
Act of 2019.

The centers are a one-stop-shop where patients may conveniently apply
for medical assistance from the relevant government agencies, namely
the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and
Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine
Charity Sweepstakes Office.

The Act also mandates all hospitals run by the DOH and the Philippine
General Hospital in Manila City to establish a Malasakit Center. Other
public hospitals may open their own provided they meet a standard set
of criteria to ensure the sustainability of its operations.

The senator, who heads the Senate Committee on Health, also reminded
hospitals to prioritize the welfare of poor patients, particularly
those who have nowhere else to turn for their medical concerns.

“Ubusin niyo ang pera ng gobyerno para tulungan ang mga hopeless,
helpless at walang matakbuhan. Ibalik niyo ang pera sa mga mahihirap,”
appealed Go.

“Ako naman, (sa mga health workers) ipaglalaban ko ang karapatan ninyo
lalo na sa additional compensation. Para sa akin, pagpasok mo sa
ospital dapat ay tinuturing exposed ka na. Mabibilang mo ba ang araw
na exposed ka? Eh, hindi mo naman nakikita ang COVID-19. Kaya dapat
pantay-pantay at walang pinipili ang ibigyan ng allowance,” he
continued.

The lawmaker specifically vowed to push for the passage of Senate Bill
No. 2421 which he co-sponsored and takes into consideration an earlier
bill he authored. The bill provides a COVID-19 Risk Allowance in lieu
of the financial compensation granted under the Bayanihan 2. It
specifically gives all health workers in “low risk areas” a monthly
allowance of P3,000; for those in “medium risk areas,” P6,000; and for
those in “high risk areas,” P9,000.

He pledged to work with the Duterte Administration to provide
hospitals and other health facilities additional support so they can
continue to serve their patients amid the pressures caused by the
ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

“Basta, ‘wag kayong mag-atubiling lumapit sa amin ni Pangulong
Duterte. Huwag din kayong magpasalamat sa amin dahil trabaho naman
namin ito. Kami nga ang nagpapasalamat sa inyo dahil binigyan niyo
kami ng pagkakataon para makapagserbisyo sa taumbayan. Ibabalik namin
sa inyo ang serbisyong dapat sa inyo,” he reassured.

On this note, the senator encouraged remaining members of the top
priority groups to get vaccinated to help the country achieve
population protection and eventually herd immunity by the end of the
year. He also shared that the DOH had recently approved the use of
booster shots for health workers to further strengthen their immunity.

“Mga kababayan, kung gusto niyong tulungan ang ating frontliners para
hindi sila mahirapan sa dami ng kaso, magpabakuna na kayo. Nasa datos
na pagbakunado ka, mas maiiwasan mo ang severe na sintomas ng
COVID-19. Bumababa na ngayon ang bilang ng mga kaso sa Maynila pero
‘wag tayo maging kumpiyansa,” he urged.

Go reiterated that despite filing his candidacy, he remains focused on
his duties as a senator and urged other officials to put politics
aside and work toward overcoming the pandemic.

“Mawalang galang, ‘wag muna natin pag-usapan nag pulitika dahil hindi
pa panahon nito. Mas interesado ang taumbayan kung paano natin
malampasan ang pandemya. Unahin muna natin malampasan ang krisis na
ito dahil kung hindi natin malampasan ito, baka wala na tayong
pulitikang pag-uusapan,” he stressed.

“Puro batikos dito, batikos doon. Pero ang sabi niya, ‘Bong, hayaan mo
na ‘yan sila. Ang gusto ko lang makatulong sa ating mga kababayan na
maging kumportable ang kanilang buhay.’ Sa totoo lang, kung iba ang
presidente natin sa panahong ito, magulo ang buhay natin ngayon. Buti
na lang siya ‘yung naging pangulo natin at mayroon tayong timon sa
panahong ito,” he added.

After the ceremony, the senator’s team handed out meals, food packs,
vitamins and masks to a total of 778 frontline health workers and 209
indigent patients to express his appreciation for the hard work and
dedication of all those who staff the hospital.

They also gave selected frontliners new pairs of shoes and bicycles to
help with their commute; they also gave away computer tablets which
children can use for their studies.

Moreover, personnel from the DSWD distributed financial assistance to
each patient and 369 rank-and-file hospital employees.

“Apat na beses na na-admit ang aking asawa dito matapos siyang
maaksidente. Nilagyan ng bakal ang bungo niya pero naimpeksyon ito.
Nandidito na naman kami ngayon para sa plastic surgery niya. Hindi
namin alam kung saan kami kukuha ng pera. Buti nalang may nagturo sa
amin sa Malasakit Center,” shared Angeline Sanchez, 46, a resident of
Muntinlupa City.

“Dahil sa Malasakit Center nawala ang problema ko. Wala akong
inintinding bill. Wala akong inintindi bayarin. Kaya maraming salamat
Senador Bong Go at President Duterte sa tulong ninyo,” she added.

The senator proceeded to thank various individuals for their efforts
to help improve the delivery of health services. He commended
Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino,
Senator Villar, House Deputy Speaker Villar, former senator Manny
Villar, former secretary Mark Villar, Mayor Imelda Aguilar, Vice Mayor
April Aguilar-Nery, and other local officials including Medical Center
Chief II Dr. Rodrigo Hao. (ai/mtvn)

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