ON SATURDAY, June 10, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, who serves as the Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, conducted a monitoring visit to the Malasakit Center at the Camarines Norte Provincial Hospital in Daet, Camarines Norte. He was joined by Senator Robinhood Padilla.
During their visit, Go expressed his support for endeavors aimed at enhancing the healthcare system of the country. He specifically urged for focused consideration to be given to those less fortunate and susceptible individuals in society who lack alternative options for medical assistance.
“Huwag pong pabayaan ‘yung mga mahihirap, ‘yung mga helpless at hopeless nating kababayan na wala pong matakbuhan kung ‘di tayong nasa gobyerno,” said Go, urging the medical staff to be patient and compassionate when attending to indigent patients.
Go’s dedication to improving healthcare access for Filipinos led him to initiate the Malasakit Centers program in 2018. The senator cited that there are currently 158 Malasakit Centers nationwide, serving as convenient hubs for medical assistance programs and simplifying the process of availing aid.
The Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop housing agencies like the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Health, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
These agencies streamline their services to provide support to particularly impoverished and underprivileged patients in settling their hospital bills.
Go, as the primary author and sponsor of the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, has played a crucial role in ensuring the law’s proper implementation. According to the DOH, the program has already benefited over seven million Filipinos.
During the visit, Go and his team also provided assistance, such as grocery packs, masks, vitamins, and snacks to 262 patients and 811 frontliners, including security guards, utilities, and other hospital staff. They also gave away bicycles, shoes, mobile phones, and watches to select beneficiaries.
The DSWD also committed to provide financial assistance to the qualified patients.
Meanwhile, Go highlighted his initiative for the establishment of more Super Health Centers across the country, recognizing their potential to substantially decrease hospital occupancy rates and bring government healthcare services at the grassroots level.
“Sa mga itinayo ng Super Health Centers, nakita namin kung gaano kalaki ang naitutulong nito sa komunidad lalo na sa rural areas. ‘Yun po ang layunin ng mga Super Health Centers, ang ilapit sa mamamayan ang serbisyong medikal ng gobyerno,” he said.
Through the collective efforts of fellow lawmakers, sufficient funds had been allocated for 307 Super Health Centers in 2022 and 322 in 2023. DOH, the lead implementing agency, identifies the strategic areas where they will be constructed.
In Camarines Norte, necessary funds have been allocated by Congress for the DOH to construct Super Health Centers in the towns of Daet, Mercedes, and Talisay.
Services offered in Super Health Centers include database management, out-patient, birthing, isolation, diagnostic (laboratory: x-ray and ultrasound), pharmacy and ambulatory surgical unit.
Other available services are eye, ear, nose, and throat (EENT) service, oncology centers, physical therapy and rehabilitation center and telemedicine, where remote diagnosis and treatment of patients will be done.
Go extended his appreciation to various local officials, including Camarines Norte Governor Ricarte Padilla and San Vicente Mayor Maria Jhoana Ong, among others, for their steadfast support and dedication to serving the people they represent.
In his role as Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, Go pushed for the allocation of funds for various projects in Daet, including the construction of a control structure for the Mabulao River in Barangays Calasgasan and San Isidro, the Mandulungan River in Brgy. Gubat, a multi-purpose building for the Camarines Norte State College, and the rehabilitation of the Daet River flood control structure, among others.
Earlier on the same day, Go extended his support to impoverished residents of Pili, Camarines Sur, and attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the Super Health Center in Talisay town in the said province, where he also offered aid to struggling individuals.
Finally, he participated in the 2023 Mindanao League of Municipalities of the Philippines Convention, held at the Acacia Hotel in Davao City.