By Mario Casayuran
Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go attended last Friday the launching of the country’s 61st Malasakit Center at the Mayor Hilario A. Ramiro Sr. Medical Center in Ozamiz City (Misamis Occidental) to serve the residents, especially those in need of fast, affordable, and reliable health care assistance in the province.
The launch is a milestone for the Malasakit Center program, a brainchild of Go, as it ensures that all regions nationwide now have access to these one-stop shops.
Go explained the purpose of the centers and how they could benefit indigent and poor patients and those in need of medical and financial assistance. He added that all Filipinos may avail of assistance from these centers.
“If you’re a Filipino, especially the indigents, you are qualified here. There’s no politics,” Go said.
A Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop for indigent and poor patients seeking medical and financial assistance.
Patients only need to fill out one form to avail of various assistances from concerned government agencies.
With the passage of Republic Act (RA) No. 11463, Go also said all Department of Health (DOH)-run hospitals in the country will get their own Malasakit Center. This guarantees the continuity of the program well beyond the Duterte administration.
Go lamented the painstaking process Filipinos had to go through before, sometimes needing to queue at government offices often located in separate areas, just to avail of government medical and financial services.
With the aim of reducing to the lowest amount possible, if not zero balance, the hospital bills of those seeking assistance, the center covers patient services and expenses such as laboratory tests, medicines, and surgeries or operations, with the exception of professional fees and private room accommodation.
Concerned agencies extending medical and financial assistance that will be housed in these centers are the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Health (DOH), and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
Go also urged Filipinos not to panic and refrain from sharing fake news.
“If I have to suggest, I really want to ban it because the people are already scared, but we must be vigilant. Let’s help one another. We should not panic and we should not blame each other. Do not spread fake news ,” Go said referring to suggestions calling for a travel ban for all travelers coming from coronavirus-hit China.
“I hope the virus will not spread. The health of every Filipino is our priority. As chairman of the Senate committee on health, I will focus on it,’’ he added.
Go also reminded his colleagues in government, especially his fellow senators, to put the interest of all Filipinos first and not resort to blaming authorities which may just cause more confusion and panic.
He was referring to a statement of another senator saying that travelers from China should go straight to Malacañang if a travel ban is not imposed.