In its aim to provide quality and accessible health care service for Filipinos, the Malasakit Center opened its 45th office at the Ospital ng Parañaque on Thursday, October 17. Attending its opening is Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go who has made a reality his promise to open one in the city.
“Napakahalaga po ng ating pagtitipon ngayong araw na ito dahil natupad na po ang ipinangako ko sa mga taga Parañaque noong nagdaang taon at mga nagdaang buwan: Bubuksan na po sa wakas ang isang opisina ng Malasakit Center dito sa inyong lungsod ng Parañaque,” Go said.
The senator described his experience a year before when he visited and met the people of Parañaque.
“Sa mga mag-asawa na nasaksihan ko ang kasal sa Tambunting wedding noong nakaraang taon, sa mga senior citizens at PWDs na nakasalamuha ko, sa mga Malasakit volunteers ng Parañaque na nakasama ko at sa lahat ng mga naninirahan sa Parañaque, nandito na po ang Malasakit Center para magbigay ng agarang tulong pang-ospital para sa inyo dito sa inyong lugar,” the senator said.
Go, who started the Malasakit Center initiative a year ago, explained to the crowd the role of Malasakit Center in providing quality health care service to Filipinos.
He said that the Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop that aims to help Filipinos acquire more accessibly financial medical assistance. It also aims to make the process simpler for Filipinos to seek assistance from the different government agencies, such as the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), PhilHealth and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
“May priority lanes din po para sa mga senior citizens at PWDs sa mga centers na ito,” Go added.
The senator, who also filed the Malasakit Center Act of 2019 bill in the Senate, affirmed that quality health care has always been a priority of President Rodrigo Duterte, having also emphasized such priority in his recent State of the Nation Address (SONA).
“Isa po ang pagpapabuti ng ating health care system sa mga prayoridad namin ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte,” he said adding that as the President wishes to make health care service free and more accessible, especially for the poor and indigent.
In an ambush interview, the senator told members of the press that the Malasakit Center Act of 2019 is being fast tracked in Congress, saying “sa ngayon, tapos na ang interpellation sa plenary sa Senado at tapos na rin ito sa committee report ng Kongreso.”
According to Go, he is hopeful that by December, upon resumption of the Congress, “maisapasa na po ito para po to set a criteria na dito sa Malasakit Center, hindi po mabungi bungi ang Malasakit Center. Magkaroon talaga ng iba’t ibang ahensya ng gobyerno na ilagay na dun sa center.”
The senator is concerned about the lack of personnel and equipment inside Malasakit Centers , hopeful that once the program will be institutionalized, “lahat ng DOH-run hospitals sa buong bansa ay magkakaroon na ng Malasakit Centers na kumpleto sa pasilidad at personnel, hindi katulad ngayon na bungi-bungi pa ang ilan sa ating mga opisina.”
The senator also clarified that the government agencies involved in the Malasakit Center have the full discretion in providing aid and assistance to the patients.
The Malasakit Center in Parañaque City is one of two Malasakit Centers to be opened this week. The 46th will be opened in Novaliches District Hospital on the following day.
Meanwhile, reporters also asked the senator during the ambush interview regarding the recent accident involving President Duterte while riding his motorbike. Go cleared speculations and assured that the President is “okay.”
“Nagkausap kami bago lang, ngayon lang. Okay naman po siya. Sabi ko dadalhin ko doctor mo diyan sa bahay, ayaw niya. Sabi naman niya ‘i’m okay’,” the senator explained.
Go also noted that the President is not keen on seeing a doctor, explaining “Alam niyo si Pangulo, hindi maiwasan na magmo-motor talaga iyan. Sabi nga niya sa akin, ‘Di ako mabubuhay kung walang motor. Hahanapin ng aking katawan ang pagmo-motor’”.
He even suggested to the President to just buy and use a scooter which the senator also uses in his fire visits so it will not be too dangerous.
The senator asks the public to wish nothing more but, the best of the President’s health.
“So let’s hope and let’s pray na sana po walang pilay ang ating Pangulo at walang nabali sa kanyang katawan,” he said.