72nd Malasakit Center launched in Baler, Aurora; Bong Go says services of MC must continue to provide accessible quality health care amid the COVID-19 crisis
Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go virtually attended the launch of the 72nd Malasakit Center at Aurora Memorial Hospital (AMH) in Baler, Aurora on Thursday, July 2. This local government- run hospital now houses the first Malasakit Center in the province of Aurora, sixth in Region 3, and 34th in Luzon.
Due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in the country, the Senator has been limiting his visits and attendance to events in compliance with the strict protocols in place to control the spread of the disease in the country.
“Congratulations dito sa Aurora! Bagama’t matagal na po akong nangako na pupunta sana ako sa lugar ninyo, inabutan po ako ng pandemic. Nakakalungkot nga po, gustong gusto kong magpasalamat sa ating mga kababayan diyan sa Aurora,” Go said in his speech delivered online.
“Itong Malasakit Center dito sa Aurora Memorial Hospital ay pang-72 na Malasakit Center na nabuksan na po natin sa buong bansa at mayroon pa po tayong bubuksan sa susunod na linggo. Bagama’t di ko mapuntahan, ganito po muna ang ating pamaraan, through Zoom na lang po muna,” the Senator added as he reminded citizens to also comply with health and safety protocols in place.
Go, in his message, explained that the Malasakit Center intends to provide better health care access to every Filipino citing that government programs should help ease the plight of Filipinos, particularly the poor, indigent and the sick.
“Para sa akin, huwag na nating pahirapan ang ating kapwa Pilipino. Kung ano ‘yung pwedeng mabilis na serbisyo na makakatulong agad sa kanila, ‘wag na nating pahirapan,” he said.
“Unang-una, pera po ng Pilipino ‘yan. Lahat ‘yan, medical at health care na tulong mula sa gobyerno ay ibigay po natin sa kanila sa mabilis na panahon para di na po sila mahirapan. Magtulungan lang po tayo,” Go added.
The Senator said, “Ang Malasakit Center ay isang one-stop shop kung saan naroon ang PhilHealth, PCSO, DOH at DSWD na pwedeng tumulong sa inyong bayarin sa ospital para ‘to the minimum’ na lang ang inyong babayaran. Kapag may natitira pang babayarin ay kukunin mula sa assistance ng ating Office of the President.”
Additional funds were also turned over by the Office of the President to help augment the assistance that patients can avail in the newly opened Malasakit Center in Aurora.
“Zero balance po ang target ng Malasakit Center para po sa mga Pilipino. Para po ito sa tao, at ibinabalik lang natin sa kanila ang pera nila sa pamamagitan ng maayos na serbisyong medikal,” he added.
Filipinos who need medical and financial assistance to cover their hospital bills would only need to fill up one form in the Malasakit Center as a way to streamline the process of availing such assistance from the partner agencies. A special lane is also provided specifically for senior citizens and persons with disabilities.
Go also said that once the COVID-19 outbreak is controlled, he plans to visit the hospital to check on the status of the Malasakit Center and also assess how he can further help the hospital and the residents of Aurora.
“Titingnan ko po ang kalagayan ng ospital ninyo at, Doc, kung ano pa pong pwede naming maitulong sa lugar ninyo, magsabi lang po kayo,” Go told AMH Chief Dr. Vladimyr Enriquez.
The Senator also did not fail to recognize the efforts of medical frontliners during his short message at the virtual launch. He said that even in these difficult times, the country’s health professionals are risking their lives to keep people healthy and safe from diseases.
“This is why this entire nation owes this immense gratitude to you, our brave frontliners, for tending the needs of the sick and ensuring that we recover as one community. Sa gitna ng pandemya, marami sa ating kababayan ang nangangailangan ng tulong hindi lang dahil may COVID-19. Alam niyo po, di dahil may COVID-19, nawala na ‘yung ibang sakit,” he said.
“May ibang mga pangangailangan rin po ang tao pagdating sa kalusugan bukod sa sakit na dulot ng COVID-19. Kaya patuloy po tayong nagtatrabaho para mas maisaayos ang ating health care system sa buong bansa,” he added.
The Senator went on to express that, as the Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, he is focused on pushing for measures that would address the woes of the healthcare system in the country and take care of the health of every Filipino.
“Matagal ko nang nakita ang paghihirap ng ating mga kababayan, lalong-lalo na po itong mga mahihirap, sa pagkuha ng kalidad na serbisyong medikal dahil wala silang pera,” Go said.
He then explained that this is the reason why the Malasakit Center Act of 2019, which is also one of the first signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte at the end of last year, was part of his first ten priority bills he filed when he assumed office as a Senator.
The law mandates the establishment of Malasakit Centers in all 73 DOH-run hospitals in the entire country and in the Philippine General Hospital. Local government units may also open their own Malasakit Centers subject to minimum qualifications.
“Sa ngayon, magtulungan lang po tayo, ingat po tayo. Sa mga frontliners, salamat sa inyong sakripisyo sa bansa. Kailangan nating magbayanihan at magtulungan sa panahong ito,” the Senator said.