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Go promises improved access to high-quality health care in rural places.

During the launch of the 150th Malasakit Center at the Batanes General Hospital in Basco, Batanes’ capital town, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go committed to continuing initiating and supporting steps to increase access to quality health care in far-flung places around the country.

The Malasakit Center is the province’s first and the Cagayan Valley Region’s fifth.

The Cagayan Valley Medical Center in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan; Faustino N. Dy Sr. Memorial Hospital in Ilagan City and Southern Isabela Medical Center in Santiago City, both in Isabela; and Region II Trauma and Medical Center in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya are the other centers in the region.

Go praised the Duterte administration’s efforts to improve the delivery of critical basic services for a more responsive government in a video message. He is committed to continue to support initiatives and projects that will help Batanes develop, especially in the area of public health.

“Dahil nakaabot ang Malasakit Center sa dulo ng ating bansa, ako po’y natutuwa.” Patuloy akong magseserbisyo sa mga kababayan natin sa Batanes dahil mahal namin kayo, kahit patapos na ang termino ni Pangulong (Rodrigo) Duterte. Go explained, “Ilang beses na kaming nagawi ng Pangulo diyan noong mga panahon ng bagyo at lindol.”

The Malasakit Center is a one-stop-shop that brings together the Department of Health, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, all of which provide medical aid.

During his time as Special Assistant to the President, Go established the first Malasakit Center in Cebu City in 2018, with the goal of providing quality health care to the underprivileged and financially disadvantaged.

After becoming a senator the following year, he wrote and sponsored the bill that became Republic Act 11463, also known as the Malasakit Centers Act.

All DOH-run hospitals are required by law to establish their own Malasakit Center. Other public hospitals, including those run by municipal governments, may also open their own center if they meet a set of requirements.

“Alam ko ang problema sa baba sa tagal kong nagtrabaho para kay Pangulong Duterte.” Karamihan ng tulong sa gamot at pagpapaospital ay nangangailangan ng tulong sa ating mga kababayan. To makahingi ng tulong, minsan pipila pa sila sa kapitolyo at iba’t ibang ahensya ng gobyerno. (I’ve worked for President Duterte for a long time and am familiar with the challenges on the ground.) Many of our countrymen require assistance with medications and hospital admissions. They have to wait in line at the capitol and other government institutions at times to seek assistance. They waste a lot of time and money on traveling.” Go ahead and share.

The procedure is faster now that there are Malasakit Centers, where all government offices are in one space, he continued, emphasizing that these facilities serve all Filipinos who pay taxes to make these centers possible.

Senate Bill No. 2421 or the COVID-19 Benefits and Allowances for Health Workers Act of 2021, introduced by the senator who chairs the Senate Committee on Health, has also committed to pushing for new legislative measures to preserve the welfare of hospital personnel and other health workers.

For the length of the national state of a public health emergency, each medical front-line worker is entitled to a monthly Covid-19 Risk Allowance according to their risk exposure rating. In the event of sickness or death, further benefits will be paid. Both Houses recently adopted the bill, which Go drafted and co-sponsored in the Senate.

The senator urged local governments and the people to continue working together in the fight against the pandemic. He emphasized the necessity of adhering to minimal public health standards and getting vaccinated, and he expressed optimism that the number of new Covid-19 cases would continue to decline.

As of February 28, the government had gotten 225.9 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, of which 135.7 million had been administered. Approximately 62.3 million Filipinos have received their first dosage, with 63.2 million having received their entire vaccination. A total of 10.2 million people have received their booster doses.

To broaden vaccine coverage even further, the government expanded the vaccination program to include all young children aged 5 to 11 years across the country.

“Ang buhay at kalusugan ng bawat Pilipino ang importante sa amin ni Pangulong Duterte,” she said. Magpabakuna tayo sa mga patakaran at sumunod tayo sa mga patakaran. If mahal niyo inyong pamilya, magpabakuna niyo dahil ito ang pinaka-epektibong paraan para maproteksyonan kayo (Every Filipino’s life and health are vital to me and President Duterte.) Let us abide by the rules and get immunized. If you care about your family, get vaccinated; it’s the most efficient approach to protect them).” Go made an appeal.

Following the ceremony, representatives from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) distributed cash assistance to 130 rank-and-file employees and ten poor patients as part of the department’s Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation program.

The senator commended numerous officials for their help and efforts to strengthen Batanes’ healthcare delivery system. He notably congratulated Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino, Rep. Ciriaco Gato Jr., Governor Marilou Cayco, Mayor Demetrius Narag, Vice Mayor German Caccam, and Chief of Hospital Dr. Jeffrey Canceran.

“Simula ng nahalal si Senator Bong Go sa Senado… siya ang ating naging tulay sa pagsisiguro na kami ay napapansin at napapakinggan ng pamahalaan, lalo mo kay Pangulong Duterte… siya ang ating naging tulay sa pagsisiguro Ang naibaba sa amin ay maraming pondo… Since Senator Bong Go was elected to the Senate, he has worked as a conduit to ensure that we are given attention and heard by the government, particularly President Duterte. When we are hit by natural disasters, a lot of money is downloaded to us),” Cayco stated.

The governor thanked Go for all of the national government’s aid to the Ivatans, and expressed optimism that the people of Batanes would continue to receive assistance.

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