MANILA — Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go witnessed on Tuesday, February 18, the turnover of financial assistance from the Office of the President (OP) to the Malasakit Center at the Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital in San Fernando City, Pampanga.
The assistance replenishes the fund that the OP gave the Malasakit Center when it was opened on October 8, 2018.
Go, the main author of the Malasakit Center Act of 2019, emphasized in his speech that the Malasakit Center does not discriminate anyone.
“Nakikiusap po ako sa mga medical workers, huwag pabayaan ang mga pasyente. Ang Malasakit Center naman po ay walang pinipili. Basta Pilipino ka, lalong lalo na ang mga poor and indigent patients, qualified po kayo makahingi ng tulong. Lapitan niyo lang ang Malasakit Center, wala pong politika diyan,” he stressed.
The Senator also explained that the Malasakit Center gives Filipino patients easier access to financial and medical assistances by bringing together in one office representatives from the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
“Noong unang panahon po, hihingi kayo ng tulong sa apat na ahensiya ng gobyerno. Lunes, pipila kayo sa Provincial Capitol. Martes, pipila kayo sa PCSO. Miyerkules, pipila kayo sa DOH. Huwebes, DSWD. Biyernes, PhilHealth. Ubos ‘yung panahon ninyo sa kakapila para humingi ng tulong na sa totoo lang, sa inyo naman ‘yan. Pera ninyo ‘yan,” the Senator said.
“Ngayon po, meron na kayong Malasakit Center. Isang araw na lang,” he added. At the Malasakit Center, the patient or the representative is asked to fill out a unified form for the four agencies, and persons with disabilities and senior citizens are entertained in an express lane. The fund from the OP is used to defray the remaining amount in the hospital bill so that it will have a zero balance.
The Malasakit Center Act, which President Rodrigo Duterte signed in December, mandates the establishment of a Malasakit Center in each of the 73 DOH-run hospitals in the country and at the Philippine General Hospital. The OP started the program in 2018 upon Go’s suggestion when he was still the Special Assistant to the President.
So far, 63 Malasakit Centers have been opened, and the one at the Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital was the tenth in the country.
Records of the hospital show that the Malasakit Center has served more than 5,000 patients, including those who were not confined and availed only of laboratory tests, CT scans, dialysis, vaccinations, implants, and physical therapy. Some officials of the province of Pampanga, officials of the hospital and Malasakit Center beneficiaries personally thanked Go during the program for his assistance in the establishment of the Center.
Go also shared in his speech that, as the Chair of the Committee on Health and Demography, he defended in the Senate the budget of the DOH. “Muntik na nilang i-slash ang budget. Tiniyak kong hindi mawawalan ng trabaho ang mga job order. Sa mga nurses natin, ‘yung desisyon ng Supreme Court na dapat mataas ang salary grade ninyo, meron na ring pondo ‘yun,” he said.
He also enrouraged the nurses to stay in the country. “Kung konti na lang ang diperensiya ng sahod ninyo, dito na lang kayo magtrabaho sa ating bansa. Marami pa kayong matutulungang Pilipino,” he said.
The Senator earlier led the groundbreaking ceremony of the country’s first hospital for overseas Filipino workers at Barangay Sindalan in the same city, and after his visit to the Malasakit Center, he proceeded to the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center to attend the Barangay Officials Forum on Peace, Safety and Security. (iamigo/sovereignph.com/PRIB)