The country’s 88th Malasakit Center has opened at the Don Emilio del Valle Memorial Hospital in Ubay, Bohol.

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Photo from Don Emilio del Valle Memorial Hospital’s Facebook page/ MANILA BULLETIN

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, in his virtual speech, extended his appreciation to the employees of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) for fulfilling their duties and putting the interests of the public above their own.

He assured that the agency’s new leadership under Atty. Dante Gierran to ensure public funds are being used to provide quality health care.

“Alam kong maraming matino diyan sa PhilHealth. Unahin po natin ang interes ng bawat Pilipino at ibalik natin ang pera na dapat sa kanila,” he said.

“Ito po ay ang pinaghirapang remittances ng mga [overseas Filipino workers] na nagpapakamatay at nagpapawis sa ibang bansa. I’m appealing to PhilHealth na gamitin ang pera sa tama,” said Go, who also serves as chair of the Senate Committee on Health and of the Congressional Oversight Committee on the Universal Health Care Act.

The newest Malasakit Center was the second so far in the province following the one built at the Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital in Tagbilaran City last October 12, 2018.

Go also thanked Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino, Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, Governor Arthur Yap, Representative Kristine Alexie Tutor, Ubay Mayor Constantino Reyes, Vice Mayor Victor Bonghanoy, and Dr. Edwin Orina for making the launch possible.

The senator, meanwhile, warned that the Duterte administration remained steadfast in its commitment to combat and eradicate the corruption within PhilHealth and in all levels of government.

“Sa mga corrupt na PhilHealth officials diyan, talagang tutuluyan namin kayo. Hindi kami titigil hanggang malinis, matanggal, makasuhan at makulong kayo. Hindi kami titigil sa kampanya namin laban sa korapsyon sa gobyerno, lalong-lalo na po dito sa PhilHealth kung saan ang pera ay hard-earned money ng ating mga kababayan,” he said.

Go then took the opportunity to recognize the hard work and sacrifices of members of the hospital staff and other frontliners who continue to serve their communities amid the ongoing public health crisis.

“Sana po ay unahin po natin ang ating mga pasyente. Huwag po natin silang pabayaan at malaki po ang inasaahan nila sa atin na makapag serbisyo tayo sa kanila,” he said.

Go, as an aide to then Davao City mayor Duterte, has witnessed firsthand the difficulties experienced by ordinary Filipinos to obtain medical and financial assistance from the government. These inspired him to establish the first Malasakit Center in Cebu City inside the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center.

“Mayor pa si Pangulo, marami ng mga pasyente kahit hindi taga Davao ang lumalapit sa kanya at humihingi ng tulong. Doon ko nakita ang kanyang puso para sa mga mahihirap. Walang pinipili,” Go shared.

“Kaya nung naging presidente siya, sabi ko ano ba ang pwede nating gawin para mapabilis ang serbisyo at doon nag umpisa ang Malasakit Center. Dati, kailangan pa nilang pumila sa iba’t ibang ahensya. Ubos na nga oras, ubos pa pera nila at kailangan pa ibenta ang kalabaw. Ngayon, may Malasakit Center na kung saan nasa iisang kwarta na ang apat na ahensya at handang tumulong,” he continued.

Go authored and sponsored the passage of the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019 which was signed into law last December. Malasakit Centers were one-stop shops that host concerned government agencies with programs that provide financial and medical assistance to Filipino patients, particularly the poor and indigent.

These agencies are the Department of Health (DoH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), PhilHealth, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

The act mandates the establishment of a Malasakit Center in the Philippine General Hospital in Manila City and every DOH-run hospital throughout the country. Other public hospitals may establish their own provided they meet the set criteria and guarantee the necessary funds for its operation.

The DSWD also provided financial assistance to 124 of the hospital’s patients on the same day as the launch.

“Sabi ko naman, kung ano pwede nating maitulong sa ating kababayan, bigay na natin. Bakit pa natin sila pahihirapan kung kaya naman natin na sa isang kwarto, isang araw lang tapos na ang proseso? Kung ano po ang nasimulan at natutunan ko sa Davao, dadalhin ko sa buong bansa bilang patuloy na serbisyo sa tao, sa bayan at sa Diyos,” Go said.

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