PRESIDENT Duterte has declared a state of public health emergency in the Philippines following the first confirmed case of local transmission of the deadly 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Duterte’s declaration of a state of emergency is a signal to all concerned agencies, local government units (LGUs), and health care providers to be ready to implement planned response measures.
And Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go advised the people not to panic and instead called on everybody to cooperate with the government in its efforts to prevent the further spread of the virus.
“Dapat laging handa tayo. Dapat ang gobyerno one step ahead. Maging proactive tayo,” said the soft-spoken but highly-dependable Go, the acknowledged chief architect of the nation’s “Malasakit Centers.”
Senator Go is the main author of the Malasakit Center Act of 2019, which mandates the establishment of Malasakit Centers in all the 73 Department of Health-operated hospitals in the country.
Under the landmark law, which was signed by President Duterte in December last year, the government is also mandated to set up a Malasakit Center at the Philippine General Hospital in Manila.
A “Malasakit Center” is a one-stop shop for indigent and financially incapacitated patients, where relevant government offices and agencies with assistance programs are housed under one roof.
Last week, the former Special Assistant to the President, who chairs the Senate committee on health and demography, witnessed the opening of three more “Malasakit Centers” in vote-rich Cebu.
The government, through concerned offices and agencies, ought to employ all means to address the coronavirus problem, which continues to terrorize many countries across the globe.
Without doubt, we will be drawing the ire of the Filipino people, particularly the poorest of the poor, if we fail to stop the spread of the dreaded disease.