Bong Go grateful over signing of Malasakit Center Act, optimistic that accessible quality healthcare now within reach of Filipinos

Bong Go grateful over signing of Malasakit Center Act, optimistic that accessible quality healthcare now within reach of Filipinos

- in Health, Philippines
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@MindaNation
Senator Bong Go and President Duterte pose together during the signing of the Malasakit Center act

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go expressed his gratitude during a radio interview today, December 4, after his Malasakit Center initiative has been institutionalized when President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law Republic Act 11463, otherwise known as the “Malasakit Center Act of 2019.” The ceremonial signing was held last night in Malacañan Palace.

“Nagpapasalamat ako at naging batas na ito,” Go said during his interview on Radio Pilipinas with Erwin Tulfo. “Para po ito sa mga tao, gaya ng pinangako ko noon.”

The senator added that the continuity of the program is guaranteed now that it has been enacted into law.

“Batas na po ito. Ang importante, ‘yung apat na ahensya ng gobyerno, nandiyan. Kung ayaw nilang tulungan ‘yung apat na ahensya at bigyan ng pondo, ayaw nilang bigyan ng pondo e para naman ‘yun sa tao, mga mahihirap, nasa sa kanila na po iyon,” Go said when asked what will happen to the law if the next president is not an ally of President Duterte.

“Ang atin lang dito, meron na tayong batas. Kung ano ang makatutulong sa taumbayan, ibabalik lang natin sa kanila ang serbisyo,” he added.

“Hindi tayo namumulitika… Noon pa yan, naisipan na natin. Kung ano ang makatutulong. Ito ang mga panahon na litung-lito ang ating mga kababayan. Kung makikita nila na may one-stop shop, hindi na sila kailangan palabuy-laboy at hingi ng tulong sa perang kanila naman.”

In the same interview, Go also recounted the conception of the Malasakit Center program and how it will benefit Filipinos, especially those in need of government medical financial assistance.

“I-explain ko lang po kung ano ito. Noong unang panahon, maraming lumalapit sa Pangulong Duterte, humihingi ng tulong. Humihingi ng tulong sa kanilang hospital bills. ‘Yung iba, hindi galing Davao City,” said Go.

“Sabi ko, ano ang konsepto na pwede nating gawin para matulungan sila. Sabi ko, imbes na palabuy-laboy sila, pwede bang ilagay na lang sa ospital ng gobyerno ang apat na ahensya at doon sila maglagay ng lamesa? One-stop shop.”

Instead of going to different government offices, wasting their time and resources in the process, Go said that Filipinos now only need to go to a single office inside government hospitals to seek assistance from four concerned agencies through the Malasakit Centers.

“Noon, Lunes pupunta sa city hall. Martes, pipila ka sa Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO). Miyerkules, Department of Health (DOH). Huwebes, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Biyernes, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth). Ubos na ang pamasahe nila, ubos pa ang panahon nila sa kapipila.”

With several local government units (LGUs) expressing their interest to put up one of these centers, Go said that this prompted him to file the bill to also set the criteria for the establishment of these centers.

“Ngayon, ang daming gustong maglagay ng Malasakit Center. Kami naman ang mahihirapan at baka mabungi-bungi at mawala ‘yung ahensya ng gobyerno. Kaya natin isinabatas para may criteria sila na susundin,” Go said.

He added, “Ngayon ang uunahin muna natin yung 73 DOH-run hospitals. ‘Yun ang required by law. ‘Yung LGUs na gustong maglagay naman, they have to follow the criteria. Dapat may personnel, may opisina na maliit, mga lamesa, computer, para paglagyan ng personnel ng apat na ahensya ng gobyerno. Sila ang tutulong at mag-guide sa proseso at magbibigay tulong.”

The senator, who is also the chair of the Senate Committee on Health, said that the program targets zero-balance hospital bill for patients to complement the Universal Health Care Law. He added that all Filipino citizens are qualified to seek assistance from the centers.

“Ang target nito, zero balance. Basta ikaw ay Pilipino, qualified ka. Meron din itong express lane para sa mga senior citizens at people with disabilities (PWDs),” Go said.

“Ang konsepto nito, hindi ka na kailangan lumabas pa, humingi ng tulong at palabuy-laboy,” he added.

As for President Rodrigo Duterte’s meeting with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Chair Nur Misuari, Go said that it is set to happen in Davao City on December 13 where both parties will discuss the prospects of a long and lasting peace in Mindanao.

“Sa December 13 sa Davao City ang meeting nila. Nagbuo ng Peace Coordinating Committee para mag-usap lang kung ano ang maitutulong nina Chairman Nur Misuari sa kapayapaan sa Mindanao. ‘Yun ang gusto ng Pangulo. Usap lang tayo kung ano ang maitutulong mo sa gobyerno at maitutulong sa hinahanap nating long and lasting peace sa Mindanao,” Go said.

The senator also congratulated the Filipino athletes who are now on track to getting the top spot of the medal tally in the ongoing Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2019 hosted by the country. Go also expressed his readiness to assist them as chair of the Senate Committee on Sports.

“Ako po masaya ako. Congratulations sa lahat ng mga atleta. Nandito ako sa likod ninyo. Handa akong tumulong. Tulungan lang muna tayo ngayon,” Go said. “I am happy na we are on track na maging number 1. Sana ay tuluy-tuloy na ito. Noong last hosting, number 1 tayo, dapat ngayon number 1 rin tayo. Sa ganda na ng mga pasilidad na meron tayo. Magagamit nila ito even after the games. Mataas ang morale ng ating athletes.”

Go also told that he suggested to the President the giving of Order of Lapu-Lapu awards to winning athletes to show appreciation for them, aside from the cash incentives provided by the law and additional incentives from the President himself.

“Sabi ko nga kay Pangulo, pwede bang bigyan natin sila ng Lapu-Lapu awards. Ito po yung Presidential award na kanilang ite-treasure. Makatatanggap din sila ng separate cash incentives sa Pangulo aside from what they get by law, makakatanggap din sila mula kay Pangulong Duterte,” Go said.

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