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99th Malasakit Center opens in Nueva Vizcaya as Bong Go vows to continue to push for accessible health care for all

January 23, 2021 - Saturday 11:01 AM by MDM

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Senator and chair of the Senate Committee on Health Christopher “Bong” Go attended the virtual launch of the country’s 99th Malasakit Center at the Region II Trauma and Medical Center in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya on Thursday, January 21. 

It is the fourth Malasakit Center in Cagayan Valley and the first in the province, in addition to the Cagayan Valley Medical Center in Tuguegarao City, Gov. Faustino N. Dy, Sr. Memorial Hospital in Ilagan City, and Southern Isabela Medical Center in Santiago City. 

In a speech, Go reassured Filipinos that he would continue fighting to ensure their continued access to quality and affordable healthcare services as the COVID-19 pandemic puts the jobs and livelihoods of many at risk.

He also expressed support for the deferment of the contributions’ hike for the National Health Insurance Program of PhilHealth while Filipinos are still experiencing the adverse socio-economic effects of the pandemic. He urged the national government to help shoulder the needed cost in implementing the Universal Healthcare Law. 

“Maraming nananawagan na itigil muna ang increase sa contributions sa Philippine Health Insurance Corporation. Sumuporta ako dito at kinausap ko si Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte to defer it dahil kawawa na ang mga Pilipino,” said Go. 

The Senator vowed to fight for the agency which is an integral component of the NHIP and the ‘Universal Health Care Act’ that seeks to provide equitable access to quality and affordable healthcare services to all Filipinos. 

“Alam namin natin, maraming empleyado diyan sa PhilHealth na gustong magserbisyo nang buong katapatan sa ating mga kababayan, lalong-lalo na sa panahong ito. Tulungan ninyo kami sa laban sa korapsyon sa gobyerno dahil hindi aasenso ang bayan hangga’t may mga corrupt na opisyal,” he appealed. 

“Hindi kami titigil ni Pangulong Duterte sa kampanya laban sa korapsyon. Talagang lalabanan at sisibakin namin lahat ng may kinalaman diyan sa pagnanakaw sa pondo ng PhilHealth,” promised Go. 

To expand access to healthcare in the country, the Senator authored and sponsored the passage of the bill that became Republic Act No. 11463 or the ‘Malasakit Centers Act of 2019’. 

The Malasakit Center brings together in a single room the government agencies from which Filipinos may seek medical assistance. They include the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, PhilHealth, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. 

The one-stop shop aims to reduce to the lowest amount possible the balance of the hospital bills of those who seek its assistance. It covers patient services and expenses, such as laboratories, medicines, surgeries, and operations. 

“Ano ba ang qualification ng Malasakit Center? Basta Pilipino, qualified ka. Ito ay para sa mga mahihirap para hindi na kayo mahirapan lumapit sa gobyerno,” explained Go. 

He thanked the individuals who extended their support to the Malasakit Centers program, including Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino, OPAV Assistant Secretary Girlie E. Veloso, Governor Carlos M. Padilla, Vice Governor Jose D. Tomas, Bayombong Mayor Pablo Ralph C. Lantion, and Solano Mayor Eufemia Dacayo. 

After the activity, the DSWD provided 164 indigent patients with financial assistance. The Senator’s staff also distributed food packs, vitamins, masks, and face shields to the beneficiaries. 

Pairs of shoes were given to selected members of the medical frontliners while others received bicycles, so they can commute to work amid limited transportation options. Meanwhile, those with children studying at home under the blended learning set-up received tablets. 

“Sa mga frontliners, maraming salamat sa inyo. Konting tiis lang po dahil wala naman kaming ibang maaasahan. Kayo ang dapat manguna sa laban na ito, kaya tulungan niyo ang ating kapwa Pilipino,” said Go. 

“Nandidito kami ni Pangulong Duterte sa likod niyo, handang tumulong sa inyo sa abot ng aming makakaya. Full support kami sa inyong mga frontliners!” he ended. 

From January 21 to 22, the Senator’s staff also conducted aid distribution activities for a total of 961 typhoon victims from throughout the province of Nueva Vizcaya. All activities were carried out in strict compliance with health and safety protocols.