On Tuesday, April 18, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go visited the Malasakit Center at Dr. Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center (DPJGMRMC) in Cabanatuan City to check on its operations and assess the continuing services being provided to the public.
“Ang Malasakit Center po is a one-stop shop. Batas na po ito, isinulong ko noon, pinirmahan po ni (dating) pangulong (Rodrigo) Duterte. Naalala ko po, ni-launch po natin ito (Malasakit Center sa DPJGMRMC) noong July 29, 2020. Hindi po ako nakapunta physically dahil inabutan po tayo ng pandemya. Masaya po ako na masaksihan po ang inyong Malasakit Center ngayon,” Go, Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, expressed in his speech.
Aside from the Malasakit Center, Go also helped in the efforts to improve the hospital structure. Specifically, he pushed for the funding for the completion of the last two floors in 2021 and 2022.
“Napakaganda po ng inyong ospital at masaya po ako na maging parte po ng pagpapatayo ng ospital na ito. Tapos na po ‘yung isang ospital noong panahon ni (dating) pangulong Duterte. Ito naman pong (isang) building, nakapag-contribute po tayo bilang Vice Chair po ng Committee on Finance at Chair ng Committee on Health sa Senado. Dalawang beses po tayong nakatulong na i-push itong funding sa inyong ospital,” he cited.
Aside from the one at DPJGMRMC, there are currently 156 other Malasakit Centers operating nationwide, including those at Eduardo L. Joson Memorial Hospital in Cabanatuan City and at Talavera General Hospital in the municipality of Talavera.
According to the Department of Health, the Malasakit Centers have already helped over seven million particularly poor and indigent Filipinos since the first center was established in 2018, providing more convenient access to medical assistance programs of the government.
Go was also able to talk with some members of the staff and patients of the hospital to personally hear their concerns or suggestions regarding the operations of the center and the hospital.
The senator and his staff then distributed food packs, masks, vitamins, and snacks, to 573 patients and 1,550 frontliners, including security guards, utilities, and other hospital staff.
They also gave away bicycles, cellular phones, shoes, watches, shirts, and balls for basketball and volleyball to select beneficiaries.
Meanwhile, a team from the Department of Social Welfare and Development extended financial assistance to the patients as well as 119 qualified hospital workers, including housekeeping and security guards.
“Asahan n’yo as Chair ng Committee on Health, uunahin ko po ang kalusugan ng bawat Pilipino. Napakahirap pong maging mahirap. Isa lang po ang pakiusap ko sa inyo, sa mga health workers, sa lahat po ng doctors, ‘wag po nating pabayaan ‘yung mga kababayan nating mahihirap, ‘yung walang matakbuhan kung ‘di itong gobyernong ito. Tulungan po natin sila. ‘Yun po ang pakiusap ko sa inyo. Full support po ako dito sa inyong hospital,” Go stressed.
During the visit, Go was also joined by Congresswoman Ria Vergara, Cabanatuan City Mayor Myca Elizabeth Vergara, Vice Mayor Julius Cesar Vergara, and DPJGMRMC Chief Dr. Huberto Lapuz, among others.
Earlier that day, Go was in the province of Pangasinan where he attended the groundbreaking of a Super Health Center and provided assistance to struggling Pangasinenses, all in Umingan town.
Go also attended another Super Health Center groundbreaking and led one more relief activity for indigents in Cabanatuan City.
Through the collective efforts of fellow lawmakers, sufficient funds had been allocated under the Health Facilities Enhancement Program of the DOH for 307 Super Health Centers in 2022 and 322 SHCs in 2023. DOH, the lead implementing agency, identifies the strategic areas where they will be constructed.
In 2022, the DOH identified the towns of San Leonardo, Rizal, and Santo Domingo as the locations for Super Health Centers in the province. More Super Health Centers were funded this year in the Science City of Muñoz, and the towns of Aliaga, Bongabon, Llanera, and Zaragoza.
Go has also supported numerous initiatives to help promote economic development and improve public service delivery in the province. Among these are the construction of the Amphitheater at the Talavera National High School; the rehabilitation of roads in Cabiao, General Tinio, Pantabangan, Zaragoza and Cabanatuan City; construction of flood mitigation structures in General Tinio, Quezon, San Antonio and Zaragoza; construction of multipurpose buildings in Gabaldon, Sta. Rosa and Cabanatuan City; reconstruction of the Llanera public market; rehabilitation of the Baloc public market; and installation of streetlights in Zaragoza.