BONG GO SLAMS ‘ANTI-POOR’ EDCEL LAGMAN
Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has scored Albay Congressman Edcel Lagman for being “anti-poor” for hinting that the Malasakit Center could be used as a political tool to perk up his (Go) image and that of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Do not be anti-poor, said Go on Friday in an interview on Manila-based radio station DZRH. Go said the Malasakit Center is “one-stop-shop” coordinating center aimed to bring down free health services to the poor.
Go also skewered Lagman for saying that the Malasakit Center is a “political tool” of Go and Duterte. An original idea of Go that he promised to pursue during his senatorial campaign in the 2016 election, the Malasakit Center would source out payments for hospital bills of indigent patients from government agencies like the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Philippine Gaming Corpo. (Pagcor) and the Office of the President.
To date, nearly a hundred Malasakit Centers have been established throughout the country.
In the DZRH interview, Go dismissed Lagman’s allegation that the Malasakit Center is tainted with Go’s politics.
I don’t need to play politics. I already won as Senator in the 2016 election, said Go, the former Special Assistant to the President (SAP).
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In a report in the government-owned Philippine News Agency (PNA), Go said on Friday said there are no “partisan or political considerations” in the Malasakit Centers, which provide medical assistance to all poor Filipinos.
Lagman earlier called on the PCSO to investigate the operations of Malasakit Centers because these are being used as a “partisan tool rather than a medical outlet.”
“Ginawa ang Malasakit Center initiative para mabigyan ng mabilis, maayos at maaasahang serbisyong medikal ang LAHAT ng Pilipino (The Malasakit Center initiative was established to provide fast, efficient, and reliable medical service to all Filipinos),” Go said.
“Walang partisan o political considerations, walang pinipili na tutulungan, hindi kailangan ng anumang endorsement letter o ID mula sa pulitiko. Ito po ay isang solusyon ng Duterte administration para sa libu-libong Pilipino na humihingi ng tulong sa gobyerno para lang magpagamot. Pera niyo po ito, ibinabalik lang sa inyo (There are no partisan or political considerations, no selective assistance, no need for any endorsement letter or ID from politicians. This is the solution of the Duterte administration for the thousands of Filipinos who are asking for medical assistance from the government. We are just returning your money [through this program]),” Go added.
The Malasakit Center program, initiated by Go under the President Rodrigo Duterte administration, is a one-stop-shop established in public hospitals to hasten the delivery of free medical services to indigent patients.
The center is staffed by representatives from the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, and other government agencies.
“Malasakit Center becomes the processing center or the one-stop-shop found in public hospitals so that patients do not need to waste their time lining up in different government agencies just to seek help,” Go said.
Go clarified that the PCSO does not provide funds in the establishment of Malasakit Centers, noting that all the agencies involved retain their medical assistance programs with their separate funds.
“MC is just a streamlining mechanism para mapabilis ang pagbigay ng serbisyomedical at pinansyal sa mga mahihirap na mga pasyente (to hasten the delivery of financial and medical service for our indigent patients),” he added.
The senator said he is also open to Lagman’s call for an investigation into the operations of Malasakit Centers, noting that the very first Malasakit Center that was established in Albay is operating successfully.
“If they want to investigate this, I have no objection. Para po ito sa tao kaya kung gusto nila malaman paano ito nakakatulong, welcome po sila na silipin ang operasyon ngMalasakit Center (This is for the public and we welcome any investigation to look into the operations of Malasakit Centers so they would know how this program is beneficial to the people),” he said.
“Wala pong pinipili ito, para po ito sa bawat Pilipinong nangangailangan. Do not be anti Poor. Huwag po natin ipagkait ang tulong at pagmamalasakit natin sa ating mga kababayan (We are not favoring anyone. This is for every Filipino in need of assistance. Do not be anti-poor. Let’s not deprive Filipinos of such assistance and care),” he added. (with PNA report)