Senator Christopher Lawrence ‘’Bong’’ Go attended Friday the virtual launch of the country’s 79th Malasakit Center which opened at the Laguna Medical Center in Santa Cruz, Laguna. The Malasakit Center is the 40th in Luzon and sixth in the CALABARZON Region.
“Para po ito sa lahat ng mga Pilipino lalo na ang mga mahihirap at parte ng vulnerable sectors na nangangailangan ng tulong sa pampagamot. Sisiguraduhin natin na pagdating sa serbisyo mula sa gobyerno, sila ang ating uunahin palagi,” Go, chairman of the Senate health and demography committee, said. (This center is for all Filipinos, particularly the vulnerable sectors who need medical help. We ensure services of the government and they are the first beneficiaries.)
Malasakit Centers are one-stop shops that host concerned government agencies with programs that provide financial and medical assistance to Filipino patients, particularly the poor and indigent.
These agencies are the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
With the enactment of the Republic Act 11463, also known as the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, all hospitals run by the DOH all over the country and the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) in Manila are now mandated to establish their own Malasakit Centers.
Hospitals run by local government units (LGUs) and other public hospitals may also establish their own Malasakit Centers provided that they meet a standard set of criteria and guarantee the availability of funds for the operation of their centers, including its maintenance, personnel and staff training, among others.
“Lapitan ninyo lang ang Malasakit Centers para sa mga pangangailangan ninyong pangkalusugan. Pera ninyo po ito. Ibinabalik lang sa inyo sa pamamagitan ng mabilis, maayos at maaasahang serbisyo,” Go said (Just go to Malasakit Centers for your health needs. This is your money that government is repaying through fast, orderly and reliable service.)
In his speech, Go also said the new face mask distribution program of the government is to strengthen the mask-wearing policy in the country amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Among the vulnerable sectors to be prioritized by the mask distribution program include households with senior citizens, pregnant women, persons with special health conditions, and Social Amelioration Program (SAP) and Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries.
The senator from Davao also stated that the government is working hard to overcome the ongoing health crisis as he shared news regarding the development of a COVID-19 vaccine in Russia. The Russian government has expressed their intent to supply to the Philippines.
“Tatlong bagay ang nasa offer ni (Russian) Ambassador Khovaev. Una, na dito rin sa Pilipinas mag-conduct ng clinical trials. Magsu-supply din sila sa atin ng bakunang ito kontra COVID-19. At, pangatlo, plano nilang mag-set up ng local manufacturing dito mismo sa bansa natin,” he said. (The Russian government’s offer is conditioned on the Philippines agreeing to conduct clinical trials; it will supply the country with vaccines; and the establishment of a local manufacturing plant in the country to produce the vaccine.)
“Uunahin po namin ni Pangulong Duterte ang mga mahihirap to avail (themselves of) the vaccine,” Go said as he previously urged government to come up with a national COVID-19 vaccine program to ensure availability, accessibility and affordability particularly to the poorest of the poor and other vulnerable Filipinos. (I and President Duterte will give priority to the needy in the availability of the vaccine.)
Meanwhile, Go continues to express his dismay over the controversies surrounding PhilHealth and vowed to go after those responsible for the alleged widespread corruption in the government-run health insurance agency.
“Patuloy po ang imbestigasyon sa PhilHealth. ‘Wag kayo mag-alala, meron na pong inatasan ang Pangulo na task force headed by Sec. (Menardo) Guevarra para tingnan ang katiwalian sa PhilHealth,” he said. (Investigation into the PhilHealth mess is underway. Don’t worry because President Duterte created a Task Force headed by Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra to look into the irregularities at PhilHealth.)