August 10, 2020 - Monday
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Davao City, Philippines

Bong Go reiterates Malasakit Centers will continue to serve as 77th center opens

August 01, 2020 - Saturday 1:08 PM by MDM

Article Banner Image Senator and Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go virtually joined the launch of the country’s 77th Malasakit Center which opened on Thursday, July 30, at the Dr. Catalino Gallego Nava Provincial Hospital in the island province of Guimaras. It is the fifth Malasakit Center in the Western Visayas region and the twentieth in the Visayas.

Senator and Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go virtually joined the launch of the country’s 77th Malasakit Center which opened on Thursday, July 30, at the Dr. Catalino Gallego Nava Provincial Hospital in the island province of Guimaras. It is the fifth Malasakit Center in the Western Visayas region and the twentieth in the Visayas.

The Malasakit Center simplifies the process for seeking medical and financial assistance from various government agencies, such as the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corp. and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, as well as related assistance provided by local government units, non-government organizations and private institutions and individuals.

Under Republic Act No. 11463, authored by Go, all hospitals run by the DOH and the Philippine General Hospital in Manila are mandated to establish their own Malasakit Centers.

In an interview conducted earlier in the day, Go narrated how the concept of the Malasakit Center was created. He recounted how the sick and elderly from nearby provinces would often come to Davao City to seek financial assistance for their medical bills from then mayor Rodrigo Duterte. 

“Hindi namin matiis na hindi tumulong. Hinanapan namin ng paraan. Kaya nung naging Presidente siya, sabi ko ano bang konsepto ang pwede nating gawin at dyan ko po napag-isipan itong Malasakit Center,” shared Go.  

“Bakit mga pasyente pa ang pupunta (sa opisina ng gobyerno)? Hindi ba natin pwedeng gawin na (sila) nalang ang pupuntahan? Sabi ko kung pwedeng lagyan natin ng isang kwarto kung saan doon makakakuha ng medical assistance sa loob mismo ng ospital,” he explained. 

Go said that the Malasakit Center started when he was serving as Special Assistant to the President. Due to its success in making much needed medical assistance more accessible to indigent patients, he decided to institutionalize it into a law when he was elected as Senator in 2019. 

“Sinubukan namin sa Cebu. Ang dami po — mahigit 100 thousand ang natulungan. Sinubukan natin sa Bacolod, sa Iloilo, sa Tacloban, at sa iba pang lugar hanggang dumami po ito. Kaya nung naging Senator po ako, sabi ko isabatas nalang natin ito para mas marami pang Pilipino ang matulungan,” Go narrated. 

“Palagi ko pong sinasabi na pera po ng taumbayan ito. Ibinabalik lang po sa kanila sa pamamagitan ng mabilis, maayos at maaasahang serbisyo,” he continued. 

Go vowed that any Filipino, especially the needy, can rely on the services of the Malasakit Center to easily access the various medical and financial assistance programs of the government that are available to them. 

“Uulitin ko po. Lapitan niyo lang po ‘yung Malasakit Center kung kailangan ninyo ng pampagamot... Karapatan ninyo ‘yun. Basta Pilipino ka, qualified ka po,” Go assured the public. 

In his message during the launching, Go vowed to continue pushing for measures to protect and promote the welfare of the country’s health workers. He commended the recent implementation of the Supreme Court decision to increase the minimum salary grade of government nurses even if it took eighteen years after the law providing for the increase was enacted. 

On July 17, the Department of Budget and Management issued Budget Circular No. 2020-4 to implement Section 32 of the Republic Act No. 9173 or the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002, raising the minimum monthly base pay of entry-level nurses.  It is retroactive to January 1, 2020.

"Kinokomendahan ko po ang Department of Budget and Management sa paglabas ng circular upang tuluyang maipatupad na ang desisyon ng Korte Suprema na nagtataas ng salary grades ng mga government nurses natin. Dalawang dekadang laban ito ng mga nurses natin. Sa wakas ay maibibigay na ang dapat para sa kanila," Go previously said. 

“Lalo na ngayon na nasa gitna tayo ng isang pandemya, lahat ng tulong na maibibigay natin sa ating healthworkers ay ibigay na natin ngayon. Isa rin itong pagkilala at pasasalamat sa kanilang dakilang sakripisyo para sa bayan,” the Senator also added.

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