MANILA, Philippines — Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go attended the launching of the Malasakit Center in Taguig-Pateros District Hospital on Wednesday.
With the launching of the new location, there are now 57 Malasakit Centers in the whole Philippines.
The launch was led by Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV).
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, Taguig Representative Lani Cayetano, House Majority Floor Leader Martin Romualdez, and Taguig City Mayor Lino Cayetano were also present during the ceremony.
Speaking in front of a crowd that is set to benefit from the services of the one-stop shop, Go lamented the painstaking process Filipinos have to go through before, sometimes even needing to queue up in government offices starting midnight, just to avail of government medical and financial services.
“Bakit kailangang pumila pa ng mga Pilipino ng madaling araw, para lang sa hangarin nila na humaba ang kanilang buhay? Kawawa ang mga Pilipino,” Go explained.
“Minsan ang mga pasyente namamanas na, pumipila para lang humaba ang kanilang buhay. Ngayon dahil may Malasakit Center na tayo, magtutulungan (ang mga ahensiya ng gobyerno) para matulungan kayo. Basta Pilipino ka tutulungan ka ng Malasakit Center. Basta lapitan niyo lang po, lalo na ang mga poor at indigent patients,” he added.
With the aim of reducing to the lowest amount possible the hospital bill balance of those seeking assistance, the center covers patient services and expenses, such as laboratories, medicines, surgeries or operations, with the exemption of professional fees and private room accommodation.
Senior citizens and persons with disabilities will also be prioritized in the centers through an express lane.
“Ulitin ko, ang Malasakit Center ay para sa tao. Ito ay one-stop shop, at tumutulong ‘yung apat na ahensya ng gobyerno. Pera niyo po ito, binabalik lang po sa inyo. Inyo po ito. Wala pong halong pulitika. Para po ito sa tao, inyo po ito,” the senator explained.
“Nandoon na ang DOH, DSWD, PhilHealth at PCSO, magbibigay sila ng tulong para maibaba o ma-cover ang medical bill ninyo. Dahil nasa isang kwarto na sila sa ospital mismo, hindi niyo na kailangan lumayo at hindi na mauubos ang panahon niyo kakapila sa iba’t ibang opisina,” Go said, stressing that all Filipinos can avail of medical and financial assistance from these centers scattered around the country.
He added that patients or their representatives will only need to fill up a unified form to request assistance from Malasakit Center, instead of having to visit government offices scattered in various locations.
Concerned agencies extending medical and financial assistance that will be housed in these centers are the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Health (DOH) and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
Go also told the residents that he is willing to assist them and have them checked by medical specialists in government hospitals, such as the Philippine Heart Center, the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, and others for more specialized care and treatment if necessary.
“Bago ko makalimutan, mga pasyente, kung hindi po kaya dito gamutin sa ospital na ito, kung mayroong komplikasyon, sakit sa puso, kidney, dialysis o kung ano pa man, sabihin niyo lang po sa amin. Kami na ang makikipag-coordinate. Kami na ang magpapagamot sa inyo hanggang makalabas kayo,” Go told patients inside the hospital.
The senator also emphasized that the accessible and efficient services offered by the Malasakit Center is the government’s way of giving back the money invested by Filipinos through taxes.
“Binabalik namin sa tao ang serbisyong para sa inyo talaga. ‘Wag kayong magpasalamat sa amin. Trabaho namin iyan, tsaka bayad na kami. Kami ang magpasalamat sa inyo dahil binigyan niyo kami ng pagkakataong manilbihan sa inyo,” Go said.
Pioneered by the senator when he was still Special Assistant to the President, Go also shared that all DOH-run hospitals will now get their own Malasakit Centers with the enactment of Republic Act (RA) 11463 which institutionalizes these centers.
“Tuloy-tuloy po ito sa lahat ng mga DOH-run hospitals. Ayon po sa batas, 73 na DOH-run hospitals ay lalagyan ng Malasakit Center,” he further explained.
Go also said that the law allows local government units (LGUs) to establish Malasakit Centers provided that they meet the standards and criteria to ensure sustainability and consistency in the services provided by the centers. “We have set criteria para sundin nila para hindi po bungi-bungi ang mga Malasakit Center.”
After the launching, Senator Go visited the wards to personally attend to patients with their requests for various medical and related assistances. (Stacy Ang/JGo/CurrentPH.com)