Senator Christopher “Bong” Go praised the government’s efforts to strengthen its response to the COVID-19 pandemic and other health threats during the inauguration of the National Patient Navigation and Referral Center (NPNRC) at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on Monday, July 12.
The NPNRC, formerly called the One Hospital Command Center, shall ensure the optimum use of existing health resources by streamlining processes for health facilities and health care provider networks to create a more coordinated patient referral and transfer system.
In his speech, the Chair of the Senate Committee on Health commended the continuing efforts to strengthen the country’s pandemic response through innovative solutions to the problems brought about by the global health crisis. This initiative, he said, shall ensure the efficient provision of essential health services to all Filipinos.
“The (NPNRC) marks another milestone on the government’s relentless efforts in providing a fast, efficient and unified COVID-19 response. Noong nag-umpisa ang pandemya, hindi alam ng mga pasyente kung saan sila pupunta. Minsan pupunta sila sa iba’t ibang ospital o namamatay na lang sila dahil hindi nila alam kung saan sila pwedeng tanggapin,” said Go.
For his part, Go vowed to ensure that the safety and health of Filipinos remains the top priority. He reiterated his commitment to pursue measures that will improve the delivery and quality of health and health-related services, especially in poor and remote areas.
In the Senate, Go has sponsored a total of 24 measures which were passed into law that improved the capabilities or capacities of various health facilities throughout the country.
13 of these bills were approved by President Rodrigo Duterte last June paving the way for the increase in bed capacity or establishment of a new hospital in the following locations: Quezon City; Mandaluyong City; Sinait, Ilocos Sur; Naguilian and Rosario, La Union; Rosales, Pangasinan; Palo and Tacloban City, Leyte; Bacolod City, Negros Occidental; Rizal, Palawan; Misamis Occidental; Medina, Misamis Oriental; and Malita, Davao Occidental.
In 2019, the Senator also principally authored and sponsored the measure that became the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019. The law directs the establishment of a Malasakit Center in every hospital run by the Department of Health and in the Philippine General Hospital. The primary aim of the program is to reduce a hospital bill to the lowest amount possible by covering patient services and expenses, such as surgeries, laboratories and medicines.
The Senator also recognized frontliners for their valuable contributions to the pandemic response. He vowed to work alongside the President to defend their interests, citing his previous efforts in pushing for the release of benefits for health workers.
To boost the country’s health workforce, Go had previously urged National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. to include the frontline personnel of the Professional Regulation Commission in the A4 priority group for vaccination so that health graduates can proceed with their board exams immediately.
He expressed confidence in the Philippines’ ability to emerge from the ongoing crisis stronger than ever, and called on all parties to strengthen cooperation to tackle the many challenges posed by the pandemic. (SOVEREIGN/AQP)