SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go, together with fellow Senators Francis “Tol” Tolentino, Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian, and Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, personally attended the League of Provinces of the Philippines’ Year-End Celebration and Thanksgiving at the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel in Mandaluyong City on Friday, December 8.

In his address, Go encouraged governors in attendance to focus on the needs of the Filipino people, emphasizing that despite holding different titles in the government, they share the common purpose of serving the nation and providing essential support, particularly during times of crisis.

Go also expressed his gratitude for their partnership in advancing initiatives that contribute to the well-being of the Filipino people. He stressed the importance of collaborative efforts in bringing public services closer to communities.

“Sa mga governors, salamat po sa inyong suporta sa six years po ni (dating) president (Rodrigo) Duterte. Hindi po magiging successful ang kanyang administrasyon kung hindi po dahil sa inyong lahat. Maraming salamat po sa inyo. And ini-encourge ko rin po kayo, suportahan natin ang ating gobyerno, para naman po ito sa Pilipino. At ang pakiusap ko lang po sa inyo, huwag n’yo pong pabayaan ang mga kababayan nating mahihirap, ‘yung mga helpless, hopeless nating kababayan na walang matakbuhan kung ‘di tayo pong nasa gobyerno,” remarked Go.

“Wala po akong masasabing advice sa inyo dahil you are superstars in your own right. Pinili kayo ng tao kaya po kayo nandiriyan. Nandirito lang po ako na inyong senador. Ako po ang bata ninyo gaya ng dati hanggang ngayon. Kalabitin n’yo lang po ako, huwag n’yo po akong ituring na ibang tao. May kasamahan po kayo sa gobyerno na handang tumulong po sa inyo sa abot ng aking makakaya,” he continued.

Go, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, expressed his commitment to enhancing the delivery of healthcare services to Filipinos, particularly those in vulnerable economic situations in the grassroots.

He highlighted initiatives such as the Malasakit Centers, Super Health Centers, and Regional Specialty Centers as key components of his efforts to ensure accessible and comprehensive healthcare for all.

Malasakit Centers, pioneered by Go, serve as one-stop shops that streamline the provision of medical assistance programs by concerned agencies, including the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, to indigent patients.

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.

Super Health Centers aim to make primary health services more accessible as they offer basic care 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.

Through the collective efforts of the DOH, local government units, and fellow lawmakers, sufficient funds have been allocated under DOH for the construction of 307 Super Health Centers in 2022 and 322 in 2023. As the lead implementing agency, DOH identifies the strategic areas where these Super Health Centers will be established.

Meanwhile, Regional Specialty Centers focus on bringing specialized medical care to all regions. RA 11959 or the Regional Specialty Centers Act, which Go is a principal sponsor and one of the authors in the Senate, holds importance in the healthcare legislative agenda of the Marcos Administration, as outlined in the Philippine Development Plan covering the years 2023 to 2028. This legislation is designed to establish Regional Specialty Centers within existing regional hospitals under DOH jurisdiction.

Each center is designated to offer specific specialties, extending services akin to those provided by hospitals in Metro Manila, such as the Heart Center, Lung Center, and the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, to communities in closer proximity.

“Prayoridad rin po ito ni Pangulong Bongbong Marcos at nina Sen. JV. Ano po ang Specialty Center? ‘Di ba ang Heart Center natin nasa Quezon City? Ang Lung Center nasa Quezon City. Papaano po tayong mga nasa probinsya, mga taga-Basilan, mga taga-Tawi-Tawi. Kawawa naman po, kailangang bumyahe ng Maynila para magpa-opera sa puso. Ngayon po, it’s a multi-year plan po ng gobyerno, itatayo na po yan sa mga existing DOH regional hospital,” Go explained.

“Batas na po ‘yan. Proud po akong ibalita sa inyo nakakuha po ako ng 24-0 na boto niyan sa Senado dahil makatutulong po ito sa mga kababayan nating mahihirap,” he added.

To end, Go assured local leaders that he is always ready to help them and their constituents especially in their time of need.

“Gaya ng dati, in my own small capacity bilang inyong senador, bukas ang aking opisina para sa inyong lahat at magseserbisyo ako sa inyo sa abot ng aking makakaya. Iyan lang po ang pwede kong ialay sa inyo, ang aking kasipagan sa pagtatrabaho dahil ang bisyo ko ay magserbisyo rin po sa kapwa Pilipino,” he said.