MANILA – Senator Christopher “Bong” Go congratulated the people of Marinduque on the launch of the country’s 144th Malasakit Center at the Marinduque Provincial Hospital in the capital town of Boac on Tuesday.
The center is the first in the province and part of a wider effort by the Duterte Administration to bring public health services, particularly medical assistance, closer to the people, especially in rural and underserved areas.
“Ipinangako ko ito sa inyo nung huli akong pumunta dito. (I promised this the last time I went here),” Go said.
Marinduque is an island province in the southern part of Luzon. It is separated from mainland Luzon by Tayabas Bay. Owing to its being an island, residents requiring more substantial government assistance often have to travel by boat and go to the mainland.
“Para hindi kayo mahirapan, nandito na ang mga ahensya sa inyung ospital. Ginawa natin ito upang maging mas mabilis ang paghahatid ng serbisyo. Lalo na ngayong panahon ng pandemya, kailangan ang gobyerno ang lumapit sa ating mga kababayan (So that you don’t have to worry, the agencies at your hospital are already here. We did this to make service delivery faster. Especially now we have a pandemic, the government needs to get closer to people),” Go said.
In 2019, Go principally authored and sponsored the measure that became Republic Act No. 11463, also known as the Malasakit Centers Act, after being elected as a senator.
The Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop that brings together the agencies which offer medical assistance, namely the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, under one roof.
Similar centers in the Mimaropa region have also been opened at the Occidental Mindoro Provincial Hospital in Mamburao, Oriental Mindoro Provincial Hospital in Calapan City, Ospital ng Palawan in Puerto Princesa City, and Romblon Provincial Hospital in Odiongan.
“Zero balance ang target nito para wala na kayong babayaran. Kung kulang ang tulong ng mga ahensya, mayroong inilaan din na dagdag pondo si Pangulong (Rodrigo) Duterte. Pakiusap nalang namin sa mga doktor at social worker, ‘wag niyong pabayaan ang ating mga mahihirap na kababayan, ‘yung helpless, hopeless at walang matakbuhan (Our target is zero balance so that our people don’t have to pay anymore. If not enough, President Rodrigo Duterte has allotted an additional budget. I just want to appeal to our doctors and social workers to take care of our helpless and hopeless countrymen),” Go said.
He thanked the frontline health workers for their sacrifices and vowed to extend all necessary support to ensure the hospital can continue to provide proper care for patients.
Go vowed to push for the passage of Senate Bill No. 2421 seeking to provide a Covid-19 Risk Allowance in lieu of the special risk allowance and other financial compensation granted under the Bayanihan 2.
“Hindi nababayaran ng kahit ano man 'yung sakripisyo ninyo sa panahon ngayon. Kaya ipaglalaban ko ang inyong kapakanan (Nothing pays for your sacrifices today. So I will fight for your welfare),” he said.
As the nation continues to confront the pandemic, Go then praised the government’s efforts to accelerate the vaccination drive which has so far administered 54.8 million doses of vaccines, including 28.3 million first doses and 24.5 million second or single doses.
He renewed his appeal to the people to get vaccinated to achieve population protection and to further reopen the economy.
Among those present with Go were Speaker of the House Lord Velasco, Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino, Governor Presbitero Velasco Jr., and other national and local government leaders including Chief of Hospital Dr. Manuel Zaratan. (PR)