SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go’s team, in coordination with Councilor Derek Palanca, brought relief to displaced workers in Victorias City, Negros Occidental on Friday, December 1. In his video message, Go emphasized the importance of providing sufficient livelihood opportunities for the poor to ensure inclusive economic recovery.

The distribution activity was held at the Barangay 7 covered court where Go’s team handed out snacks, shirts, and balls for basketball and volleyball to 180 displaced workers.

The Department of Labor and Employment also conducted an orientation for those eligible for the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers program.

To further promote the welfare of Filipino workers affected by crises and ensure that those who reside in rural areas lacking job opportunities are taken care of, Go filed Senate Bill No. (SBN) 420, which seeks to offer temporary employment to eligible members of low-income rural households. Under the proposed legislation, the Rural Employment Assistance Program (REAP) would be created within the DOLE.

If this bill is enacted into law, REAP’s primary objective would be to offer temporary job opportunities to individuals who meet the criteria for economic disadvantage, poverty, displacement, or seasonal employment.

Go, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, extended assistance to those with health concerns as he encouraged them to avail of the services of the Malasakit Center located at Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital in Bacolod City if they need assistance with their hospital expenses.

Established in 2018, the Malasakit Centers are one-stop shops that consolidate various government medical assistance programs from various agencies such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Health (DOH), the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

Go is the principal author and sponsor of Republic Act 11463 or the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, which institutionalized the Malasakit Centers program. To date, 159 operational centers have helped more than ten million Filipinos nationwide, according to DOH.

The senator is also dedicated to supporting the establishment of more Super Health Centers nationwide.  Through the collective efforts of fellow lawmakers and local government units (LGUs), sufficient funds have been allocated for 307 Super Health Centers in 2022 and 322 Super Health Centers in 2023. DOH, the lead implementing agency, identifies strategic areas where these centers will be built.

“Sa pag-iikot ko sa bansa, napansin ko na kailangan talaga ng dagdag na health facilities lalo na sa maliliit at malalayong mga lugar. Minsan po, ‘yung iba ay nanganganak na lang sa tricycle sa layo ng byahe pa-ospital,” said Go.

“Huwag sana natin hayaan na mangyari pa ‘yon. Kaya talagang isinusulong ko ang pagkakaroon ng Super Health Centers para mailapit ang pangunahing serbisyo medikal sa ating mga kababayan sa malalayong lugar,” he added.

Super Health Centers offer health services including database management, out-patient, birthing, isolation, diagnostic (laboratory: x-ray, ultrasound), pharmacy, and ambulatory surgical unit. Other available services are eye, ear, nose, and throat (EENT) service, oncology centers, physical therapy and rehabilitation centers, and telemedicine.

Go then highlighted RA 11959, also known as the Regional Specialty Centers Act, a legislative initiative for which he is the principal sponsor and one of the authors in the Senate. This Act aims to establish Regional Specialty Centers within the current regional hospitals under the jurisdiction of DOH.

Meanwhile, as vice chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, Go also supported the construction of a revetment, multi-purpose public facilities, and several road maintenance initiatives in Bacolod City; and the construction of a multi-purpose building and concreting of a local road in the town of Don Salvador Benedicto.

Other initiatives that Go pushed for include the construction of multi-purpose buildings in Calatrava and Himamaylan City; road maintenance in Bago City; and construction of a new infectious diseases wing at the Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital in Silay City.

“Sa totoo lang po, ‘wag po kayong magpasalamat sa amin. Kami po ang dapat magpasalamat sa inyo dahil binigyan n’yo kami ng pagkakataon na makapagserbisyo sa inyo,” Go said.

“Kami po ay probinsyano tulad ninyo na binigyan n’yo po ng pagkakataon na makapagserbisyo sa inyo. Kaya hinding-hindi ko sasayangin ang pagkakataon na ibinigay ninyo sa akin. Magtatrabaho po ako para sa Pilipino sa abot ng aking makakaya,” he added.