Senator Christopher “Bong” Go emphasized his dedication to enhancing the country’s healthcare system during a monitoring visit to the Malasakit Center at the Sorsogon Provincial Hospital in Sorsogon City, Sorsogon on Friday, November 24.
“Huwag po kayong magpasalamat sa amin. Sa totoo lang po, ako po ang dapat magpasalamat sa inyo dahil ako po’y probinsyano lamang na binigyan nyo po ng pagkakataon na makapagserbisyo po sa inyo,” Go said as he reiterated his gratitude for being given the opportunity to serve the people.
He pledged to tirelessly work for the Filipino people, underscoring his experience and commitment in uplifting the lives of the poor, “Magtatrabaho po ako para sa Pilipino. Iyan po ang pwede kong ialay sa inyo, ang aking kasipagan.”
Go then highlighted the importance of Malasakit Centers, an initiative he championed as the principal author and sponsor of Republic Act 11463, or the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019.
Through Go’s continuing advocacy of helping the poor avail of needed medical assistance, a total of 159 Malasakit centers nationwide serve as one-stop shops combining programs from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) to aid impoverished patients.
DOH reported that the Malasakit Center program has already provided aid to more than ten million Filipinos so far.
During his visit, Go also addressed the healthcare workers and frontliners, thanking them for their sacrifices, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. He stressed the importance of the Malasakit program and urged the staff to prioritize helping the needy.
“Ang dapat nating pasalamatan sa totoo lang po ang ating mga frontliners. Hindi po natin mararating yung kampanya laban sa Covid kung hindi po sa sakripisyo ng mga frontliners. Palakpakan po natin ang lahat ng ating frontliners,” said Go.
Go also underscored his role in the passage of RA 11959, known as the Regional Specialty Centers Act which he principal sponsored and is one of the authors in the Senate. This legislation, signed into law by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. on August 24, mandates the creation of specialized centers within current DOH regional hospitals. The aim of this Act is to decentralize specialized medical services, making them more accessible to people across the regions and reducing the necessity for travel to Manila for such services.
As part of this initiative, Go also undertook an inspection of the Sorsogon Cancer Treatment Center during his visit which was recently constructed with his support. He also inspected the newly renovated Sorsogon Provincial Hospital which he helped fund as vice chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance.
During his hospital visit, Go and his team also distributed food packs, snacks, masks, and vitamins to 1,200 beneficiaries. Selected beneficiaries also received shirts, balls for basketball and volleyball, bicycles, cellphones, and shoes. Meals were also provided to patients and frontliners as part of Go’s nationwide meal provision initiative.
Go expressed his gratitude towards fellow Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero who joined him in his visit to the province. He also recognized the crucial roles of Dr. Robby Chacon, the Medical Chief, and Dr. Renato B. Bolo, the Provincial Health Officer, in managing Sorsogon’s health needs, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To further bring crucial medical services closer to communities, Go pushed for the establishment of Super Health Centers nationwide to alleviate hospital overcrowding, promote early disease detection, and enhance the availability of primary care and medical consultations at the grassroots level.
Earlier that day, he participated in the inauguration of a Super Health Center in Sorsogon City aimed at bolstering local health infrastructure and providing better healthcare access to the community.
Super Health Centers are designed to focus on primary care, consultation, and early detection of diseases at the community level. Moreover, the centers offer 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 collective efforts, sufficient funds have been allocated to DOH for 307 Super Health Centers in 2022 and 322 in 2023. Apart from Sorsogon City, Super Health Centers were also funded in Bulan, Irosin, Castilla, Sta. Magdalena, and Matnog.
Concluding his speech, Go encouraged everyone to do good in their capacity, saying, “Tandaan po natin, minsan lang tayo dadaan sa mundong ito. Kung ano pong kabutihan o tulong na pwede nating gawin sa ating kapwa ay gawin na po natin ngayon dahil hindi na tayo babalik sa mundong ito.” Later that day, Go also provided assistance to displaced workers in Sorsogon City. Additionally, he participated in the 78th Annual National Convention of the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants.