Senator Christopher “Bong” Go conducted an inspection of the ongoing construction of the Super Health Center in the town of Rizal, Nueva Ecija on Thursday, February 23. He was accompanied by GP Partylist Representative Jose Padiernos.

Go shared that he has been pushing for the establishment of Super Health Centers in the country, particularly in fifth and sixth-class municipalities where residents have limited access to health services.

He recounted that the establishment of Super Health Centers was set in motion in 2021 after the country realized the shortage of health facilities in remote municipalities with limited funds especially amid the pandemic.

“Sa tulong po ng DOH (Department of Health) at mga kasamahan kong mambabatas sa Senado at Kongreso, iyan po ay inisyatibo natin noong 2021. Sa kakaikot ko po sa buong Pilipinas, nakita ko na napakakulang talaga ng mga Super Health Center natin sa mga fifth class at sixth class municipalities,” said Go.

“Wala po silang pondo na pampatayo ng Super Health Center. Isipin n’yo, sixth class municipalities, ang budget nila PhP15 million. Paano sila makakapagpatayo ng Super Health Center?” he added.

The senator then cited that Super Health Centers would provide much-needed health services to residents who would otherwise have to travel long distances to access medical care.

“Ang iba po, nasa malalayong lugar, magta-travel pa (‘yung mga residente) ng tatlong oras, apat na oras. Ang mga buntis, nanganganak na lang sa mga jeepney at tricycle,” he said.

The senator also pointed out that one of the challenges in providing medical services to remote communities is convincing residents to get vaccinated. With the Super Health Centers strategically located in areas that are difficult to reach, the residents will have easier access to vaccination services.

“Mapapaigting pa natin ang ating pagpapabakuna, hindi lang po kontra COVID-19, kundi ‘yung tigdas para sa mga bata,” said Go.

“Sa sobrang layo ng health center, ayaw nang magpabakuna ng mga nanay kasi sabi nila napakalayo i-travel. Ngayon po, with Super Health Center, sa mga strategic areas, pwede na po ang pagpapabakuna doon,” he added.

The Super Health Center in Rizal town is currently 20% complete, and is set to offer a range of health services, including database management, outpatient care, birthing, isolation, diagnostic procedures such as x-rays and ultrasound, pharmacy services, and an ambulatory surgical unit.

Just like other Super Health Centers, it will also have specialty services such as oncology centers, physical therapy and rehabilitation centers, ear, nose, and throat services, and telemedicine facilities where remote diagnosis and treatment of patients can be conducted.

Through Go’s efforts, sufficient funds had been allocated under the 2022 Health Facilities Enhancement Program for the construction of some 307 Super Health Centers. As Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, he was likewise successful in pushing for additional funds under the 2023 budget to support the construction of 322 SHCs in other parts of the country.

In 2022, the senator supported the funding for the establishment of Super Health Centers in the province in Cabanatuan City, and in the town of San Leonardo, in addition to the Super Health Centers in Rizal and Santo Domingo, which he likewise inspected on the same day.

More Super Health Centers will be established this year in the Science City of Muñoz, and the towns of Aliaga, Bongabon, Llanera, and Zaragoza.

Following the inspection of the Rizal Super Health Center, Go and his team also distributed assistance to 1,100 struggling residents at the Pag-Asa Gym in the town. They handed out food packs, vitamins, face masks, and snacks. Select beneficiaries also received calendars, bicycles, cellphones, shoes, balls for basketball and volleyball, shirts, and a watch.

Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development gave financial assistance to the residents to help them sustain their basic needs.

In his message to the residents, Go emphasized the importance of providing assistance to those in need, especially during difficult times. He also assured them that the government is committed to ensuring that every Filipino has access to basic needs.

“Trabaho po namin ‘yan. Sa totoo lang po, kami po’y mga probinsyano lamang kaya kami po ang dapat magpasalamat sa inyo dahil binigyan n’yo po kami ng pagkakataon na makapagserbisyo sa inyo. Maraming-maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat. Hindi ko po sasayangin ang pagkakataong ibinigay niyo sa akin,” said Go.

The senator then offered additional assistance to the residents in need of medical attention as he informed them that there are Malasakit Centers in the province that they may visit.

Principally authored and sponsored by Go, the Malasakit Centers Act mandates all DOH-run hospitals, and the Philippine General Hospital, to establish their own Malasakit Centers to conveniently assist poor and indigent patients with their hospital bills by covering various patient services and fees.

There are now 154 Malasakit Centers nationwide, including those in Eduardo L. Joson Memorial Hospital and Dr. Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center, both in Cabanatuan City, and Talavera General Hospital in Talavera town.

Since the first Malasakit Center was established five years ago, the centers have helped more than seven million Filipinos nationwide, according to the DOH.

In the end, Go, who is also an adopted son of Nueva Ecija, lauded the local officials, including Nueva Ecija Governor Oyie Umali, Vice Governor Anthony Umali, Nueva Ecija 2nd District Representative Joseph Gilbert Violago, GP Partylist Representative Jose Padiernos, Rizal Mayor Hanna Katrina Andres, and Vice Mayor Bonifacio Soliven, among others, for exerting great efforts to promote the welfare of their constituents and making certain that they are well-supported during crisis situations.

Go also seeks to improve the delivery of public services in the province. For this reason, he has supported the rehabilitation of roads in Cabiao, General Tinio, Pantabangan, Zaragoza and Cabanatuan City; construction of flood mitigation structures in General Tinio, 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.

On the same day, Go also conducted an inspection of the Super Health Center in the town of Santo Domingo where he likewise aided struggling residents. In addition, he inspected the newly constructed Santo Domingo-Aliaga Road and Bridge which was funded with the support of Go as Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance.