SENATOR and chair of the Senate committee on health and demography Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go virtually joined the launch of the country’s 77th Malasakit Center which opened on Thursday at the Dr. Catalino Gallego Nava Provincial Hospital in the island province of Guimaras.
It is the fifth Malasakit Center in the Western Visayas region and the twentieth in the Visayas.
The Malasakit Center simplifies the process for seeking medical and financial assistance from various government agencies, such as the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corp. and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, as well as related assistance provided by local government units, non-government organizations and private institutions and individuals.
Under Republic Act No. 11463, authored by Go, all hospitals run by the DOH and the Philippine General Hospital in Manila are mandated to establish their own Malasakit Centers.
In an interview conducted earlier in the day, Go narrated how the concept of the Malasakit Center was created. He recounted how the sick and elderly from nearby provinces would often come to Davao City to seek financial assistance for their medical bills from then-mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
“Hindi namin matiis na hindi tumulong. Hinanapan namin ng paraan. Kaya nung naging Presidente siya, sabi ko ano bang konsepto ang pwede nating gawin at dyan ko po napag-isipan itong Malasakit Center,” shared Go.
“Bakit mga pasyente pa ang pupunta (sa opisina ng gobyerno)? Hindi ba natin pwedeng gawin na (sila) nalang ang pupuntahan? Sabi ko kung pwedeng lagyan natin ng isang kwarto kung saan doon makakakuha ng medical assistance sa loob mismo ng ospital,” he explained.
Go said that the Malasakit Center started when he was serving as Special Assistant to the President. Due to its success in making much needed medical assistance more accessible to indigent patients, he decided to institutionalize it into law when he was elected as Senator in 2019.
“Sinubukan namin sa Cebu. Ang dami po — mahigit 100 thousand ang natulungan. Sinubukan natin sa Bacolod, sa Iloilo, sa Tacloban, at sa iba pang lugar hanggang dumami po ito. Kaya nung naging Senator po ako, sabi ko isabatas na lang natin ito para mas marami pang Pilipino ang matulungan,” Go narrated.
Go vowed that any Filipino, especially the needy, can rely on the services of the Malasakit Center to easily access the various medical and financial assistance programs of the government that are available to them.
In his message during the launching, Go vowed to continue pushing for measures to protect and promote the welfare of the country’s health workers.
"Kinokomendahan ko po ang Department of Budget and Management sa paglabas ng circular upang tuluyang maipatupad na ang desisyon ng Korte Suprema na nagtataas ng salary grades ng mga government nurses natin. Dalawang dekadang laban ito ng mga nurses natin. Sa wakas ay maibibigay na ang dapat para sa kanila," Go previously said.