PANGASINAN – former Special Assistant to the President (SAP) and 2019 senatorial candidate Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go welcomed the launch of the 24th Malasakit Center in Dagupan City. He also appealed to keep it free from any political color.
“Nanawagan po ako sa ating kapwa Pilipino: ‘wag na po nating haluan ng pulitika itong Malasakit Center opening at suportahan na lang natin kung nakakatulong naman ito sa mga pasyente nating nangangailangan ng serbisyong medikal. Huwag po nating ipagkait sa Pilipino ang benepisyong dapat mapunta sa kanila. Pera po nila ito, ibinabalik lang po sa kanila ng gobyerno,” he said.
The Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop that seeks to make it easier and faster to provide medical and financial assistance to poor patients by bringing together, in one room, all concerned agencies such as the DOH, DSWD, PCSO, and Philhealth.
The former SAP was in Dagupan City, Pangasinan to grace the 50th founding anniversary of the Lyceum Northwestern University. He is an adopted son of the province via a resolution passed by Pangasinan’s Sangguniang Panlalawigan and approved by Governor Amado Espino III on December 18, 2018. The launch of the Malasakit Center—the 24th in the country— at the Region 1 Medical Center in Dagupan City was led by Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.
“Dumaan lang po ako doon dahil narinig ko na may launching,” Go said in an interview as he clarified that he did not participate at all in the program for the inauguration of the Malasakit Center. “Dumaan lang po ako bilang suporta sa DOH at sa mga nais magpatuloy ng adbokasiyang pagbibigay ng tamang serbisyong medikal sa mga maysakit na Pilipino,” he added.
He noted that the Universal Health Care law recently signed by President Rodrigo Duterte and the Malasakit Center will complement each other to expand the access of Filipinos to quality healthcare services. “Sa Universal Health Care, ang Philhealth po ang mamahala sa mga bill ng pasyente. Kung may balance pa po, doon na po papasok ang Malasakit Center. Ang importante, nasa isang bubong lang ito (Malasakit Center) at hindi na po kayo lalabas o lilipat (pa para maghanap ng tulong),” Go explained.
In a radio interview, Go said that if elected to the Senate, he would pursue his advocacy for improved health services, including the enactment of a law for the establishment of Malasakit Centers in more provinces and in key urban areas around the country. “Kung sakali man po na mabigyan ng pagkakataon, pagdating ng panahon ay akin itong isasabatas para mas maraming matulungan na may sakit,” Go said.
Go also disclosed that he came up with the idea of a Malasakit Center from his experiences attending to the needs of people who had sought the assistance of then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte. “Noong umupo si Mayor Duterte as President, doon ko po inisip kung paano kaya namin mapapabilis ang proseso (ng pagbibigay serbisyo sa mga pasyenteng kapos sa pambayad),” Go narrated.
“Doon ko po naisip, ‘pwede kaya naming pakiusapan ang iba’t-ibang agencies ng gobyerno na maglagay (ng representatives) sa isang bubong?’ Doon po nag-umpisa ang Malasakit Center,” he added.
Since then, the Duterte administration has adopted the Malasakit Center as one of its programs. As part of his health agenda, Bong Go mentioned that he also envisions more funding for public hospitals to increase their bed capacity, noting that many government health facilities are suffering from overcapacity in which, oftentimes, three or more patients have to share one bed.
Likewise, Go wants to increase the salary of nurses as well as provide adequate benefits to barangay health workers who are at the forefront of delivering health services to Filipinos all over the country.
Go’s legislative agenda also includes programs for agriculture, anti-illegal drugs and criminality, housing, education, long-term sports development, anti-corruption, fire protection and prevention, localized peace talks, creation of a Department of OFW, barangay welfare, and improved benefits for senior citizens. He also lauded the DOH and other parties that continue the Malasakit Center program in service of the Filipino. “Lubos na nagpapasalamat po ako sa DOH at sa mga nais magpatuloy ng adbokasiyang pagbibigay ng tamang serbisyong medikal sa mga maysakit na Pilipino. Patunay lang po ito na may malasakit ang gobyerno at handa itong magserbisyo sa Pilipino.” (Jun Ledesma)
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