Go leads fight for the welfare of medical workers, seeks immediate release of their hazard pay, special risk allowance

Published January 13, 2021, 10:19 AM

by Mario Casayuran

Senator Christopher ‘’Bong’’ Go has vowed to fight for the welfare of the members of the medical community amid the reported delays on the release of their active hazard pay and special risk allowance benefits. 

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go (OFFICE OF SEN. BONG GO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Ang sahod at benefits na dapat mapunta sa inyo ay dapat ibigay. Kapag may reklamo kayo, sabihin niyo sa akin at ako mismo ang magsasabi o magbubulong kay Pangulo [Rodrigo Duterte],’’ he said. (The compensation and benefits that you deserve should be given to you. If you have complaints, tell me and I will be the one to relay it to President [Duterte].)

“‘Yung mga (responsible na opisyal na) nag-delay ng benefits ng mga namatay na doktor, ngayon suspendido na. Isipin niyo, hindi basta-basta ang mamatayan ng mahal sa buhay. Bakit natin sila pinahihirapan kung pwede namang gawing isang linggo o tatlong araw ‘yan?,’’ he asked. (The responsible officials who caused the delay of the benefits of the doctors who have died, are already suspended. It is not easy to lose a family member. Why do we have to make it hard when we can do it in a week or in three days?) 

Go, chairman of the Senate Health and Demography Committee, issued the statement after he personally attended the launch of the country’s 98th Malasakit Center at the Casimiro A. Ynares Sr. Memorial Hospital in Rodriguez, Rizal yesterday. 

It is the fourth Malasakit Center in Rizal, in addition to the Antipolo City Hospital System Annex IV, Bagong Cainta Municipal Hospital, and Margarito A. Duavit Memorial Hospital. It is also the 52nd in Luzon. 

In his speech, Go recognized the service and sacrifices of medical workers and other frontliners as they continue to work tirelessly to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Nagpapasalamat ako sa lahat ng frontliners. Sa mga doktor, nurse, pati pulis. Hindi basta-basta ang ginagawa niyo, lalo sa panahon na ito. Ipaglalaban namin ang kapakanan ninyo ,’’ he said. (I thank all the frontliners. To the doctors, nurses and policemen, you have done so much, especially at this time [of the crisis]. We will fight for your welfare.)

Go also called on the decent employees of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to safeguard taxpayers’ funds and join the fight against corruption to ensure that Filipinos are receiving the medical care they need. 

“Kami ni Pangulo, hindi kami titigil labanan ang korapsyon sa PhilHealth. Kaya natin ipinagpaliban ang increase sa kontribusyon ay dahil rin maraming nawalan ng trabaho… Saan sila kukuha para sa kontribusyon? Masakit bumunot ng pera sa bulsa na pinagpawisan nila at masasayang at nanakawin lang ng iilang empleyado sa PhilHealth (The President and I will not stop fighting corruption in PhilHealth. This is why we deferred the increase in contribution after learning that several people lost their jobs…Where are they going to get the money for contribution? Hard earned money should not be lost to some corrupt Philhealth employees),” he said. 

 “Kaya tulungan niyo kami ni Pangulo na labanan ang korapsyon at ibalik natin sa tao ang pera na kanila, lalong-lalo na ang mga pasyente na walang matakbuhan na halos nagmamakaawa mapahaba lang ang buhay nila,’’ he added.  (Help me and the President in fighting corruption. Let us return the money of the people, especially the patients who have no one to turn to for their health needs.)

To improve access to health care, President Duterte signed Republic Act 11463, the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, on December 3, 2019. The law directs the establishment of a Malasakit Center in the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) in Manila City and in 73 hospitals administered or managed by the Department of Health (DOH).

The Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop that puts together the national agencies offering medical assistance in a single room. They include the DOH, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), PhilHealth, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO). Its primary aim is to reduce the hospital bill balance to the lowest amount possible with the government shouldering the expenses. 

Go thanked those who supported the Malasakit Centers program and contributed to its continuing success. They include Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino and Assistant Secretary Girlie Veloso, Mr. Victor Neri of the DSWD, Governor Rebecca A. Ynares, Vice Governor Reynaldo San Juan, Jr., and Mayor Dennis L. Hernandez, among others.

After the event, the DSWD distributed financial assistance to 143 indigent patients.

Go’s office also provided each patient with a food pack, vitamins, masks, and face shields. Selected members of the hospital staff received bicycles to help with their commute. Those with children studying under the blended learning set-up were provided with tablets. 

The senator also promised to assist Maricel Camposon, 39, a mother of three, whom he met en route to the event, who is in urgent need of surgery. Upon Go’s request, the DSWD provided her with financial assistance to cover her immediate medical needs while the hospital offered additional aid.

Go also assured frontliners, as well as the poor and vulnerable sectors, that they will be prioritized once a safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19 is approved and made available.