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… Read More
Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Wednesday visited Ilagan City, Isabela to join the opening of the country’s 62nd Malasakit Center and to witness the turnover of financial assistance from the Office of the President (OP) to typhoon victims and affected farmers of the province.
“Dito sa Malasakit Center, pinagsama-sama natin ang apat na ahensiya ng gobyerno (Under Malasakit Center, we have four government agencies),” Go said in his speech, referring to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
The Malasakit Center, located inside the Gov. Faustino N. Dy Sr. Memorial Hospital at Barangay Calamagui 2nd, serves as a one-stop-shop for financial and medical assistance from the four agencies.
“Hindi na ninyo kailangang pumila sa iba’t ibang opisina. Palalagyan din natin ito ng express lane para sa (You need not to line up in different offices. We will also put up express lane for) senior citizens and persons with disabilities,” Go said.
Go said the provincial government of Isabela also contributed funds for the Malasakit Center as additional assistance in case the four agencies cannot cover the entire bill of a patient.
“Zero balance ang target ng Malasakit Center,” he explained.
The center covers patient services and expenses, such as laboratories, medicines, surgeries or operations, with the exemption of professional fees and private room accommodation.
The process of seeking assistance has also been simplified through the Malasakit Unified Form, which means that there is only one form to fill up for Filipinos requesting medical assistance.
Under the Malasakit Center Act of 2019 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last year, Go said all 73 DOH-run hospitals will have Malasakit Center.
Aside from the DOH-run hospitals and the Philippine General Hospital, the law also 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, he added.
Go also attended the turnover of checks to the province and to its component city of Ilagan and 18 of its municipalities that were affected by last year’s typhoons — Ramon, Rosita and Tisoy — at the Ilagan City Community Center.
The city of Tuguegarao in Cagayan province, which was affected by typhoons Ramon and Quiel in 2019, also received financial assistance.
During the turnover, the DSWD conducted a ceremonial distribution of financial assistance to the 15 families. A total of 35,000 families were affected by typhoons which happened in the fourth quarter of 2019.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) also held a ceremonial turnover of farm equipment to farmers’ associations and one-time financial assistance to 1,000 farmers from Ilagan City and 732 farmers from the municipality of Jones.
Go took the opportunity to make an appeal to communist rebels to engage in peace talks with the government.
“Ayokong kapwa Pilipino nagpapatayan (Filipinos should not kill each other),” he said.
“Nagtiwala kami sa inyo. Ilang beses kaming umakyat ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte sa bundok sa Davao para kunin ang mga nabihag na sundalo at pulis. Walang bodyguard, walang baril, kami lang dalawa…Magtiwala lang tayo. Wala na kayong ibangPangulo na sinserong makipag-usap sa inyo para magkaroon ng kapayapaan (We trusted you. Me and President Rodrigo Duterte went to the mountains in Davao to get captive soldiers and police. No bodyguard, no gun, only two of us. You should trust us. You have no other President who will talk to you seriously to achieve peace),” he added.
He also urged the people of Isabela to continue supporting the government’s campaign against illegal drugs, crimes and corruption.
In a media interview, Go emphasized the need for the establishment of the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR).
“Nagkaroon na po kami ng pagdinig sa Senado tungkol dito. Sabi ko, importante na kapag may bagyo, earthquake o pagputok ng bulkan, may Cabinet-level na opisyal na mamamahala (We already conducted Senate hearing about it. I said, it is important that every time there is an earthquake or eruption of volcano, a Cabinet level official should take charge),” Go said.
He said the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, Office of Civil Defense and other concerned agencies will be placed under the proposed DDR for proper coordination.
In July last year, Go filed Senate Bill 205 for the creation of “an empowered, highly specialized department with clear unity of command and primarily responsible in ensuring safe, adaptive and disaster-resilient communities.”
He said the proposed DDR will have regional offices.
Go, chair of the Senate committee on health, also talked about the government’s efforts to stop the spread of novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD).
He reiterated the need to track all the airplane passengers who were in the same flights as the two Chinese nationals who entered the country on January 21 and were both tested for 2019-nCoV ARD.
“Trabaho ‘yan ng (Bureau of) Immigration, ng PNP (Philippine National Police). Kaya nilang hanapin ‘yan. Sabi ko sa committee hearing kahapon sa Senado, dapat noon pa hinanap na ninyo kaagad (That’s the job of Bureau of Immigration and PNP. They can trace the passengers. I said in the committee hearing, they should have done it immediately),” Go said. “Di tayo pwedeng mag kompyansa o maging kampante dito (We should not be complacent).”
Go urged the public to remain calm and help the government protect the country and its people from the virus. (PR)
The Senate on Monday, November 11, passed on third and final reading a proposed measure seeking to institutionalize the establishment of Malasakit Centers in all Department of Health (DOH) hospitals nationwide and at the Philippine General Hospital.
Senate Bill 1076 was approved with a vote of 18-0 with no abstentions.
The bill aims to consolidate the assistance provided by the DOH, Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office under one roof so patients would no longer have to endure long lines in different agencies to ask for aid.
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, the main author and sponsor of the bill, thanked his colleagues for fully supporting the immediate passage of SB 1076.
The neophyte senator said the Malasakit Center is one of the solutions the Duterte administration has developed to provide quick and quality access to health care to all Filipinos regardless of their age, sex, ethnic background, religion, and political affiliation.
“With the Malasakit Center act in place to complement the Universal Health Care law, we are a step closer towards making quality health care more accessible and affordable for all Filipinos, especially the indigent and poor patients in need of medical assistance from the government,” he said.
“Pera niyo po ito, ibinabalik lang sa inyo sa pamamagitan ng mabilis, maayos at maasahang serbisyong medikal para sa lahat ng Pilipino (This is your money that is just being returned by means of speedy, orderly and dependable medical service for all Filipinos),” Go said.
Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto also lauded the speedy approval of SB 1076, saying the Malasakit concept is commendable for bringing financial and medical help to the people instead of the people chasing after them.
“The creation of Malasakit Centers in a DOH-run hospitals and at the PGH is one step in helping our people raise the financial resources for the medical care of their loved ones,” he said.
“Malasakit Centers will not totally do away with out of pocket medical expenses but these gateways to assistance tell the people that their government is here to help,” Recto added.
Besides institutionalizing the establishment of Malasakit Centers in DOH-run hospitals and in the PGH, SB 1076 also provides that hospitals run by Local Government Unites (LGUs) and other public hospitals may also establish their own Malasakit Centers.
Patients who would be admitted to LGU and other public hospitals but are eligible for medical and financial assistance could also seek assistance from the Malasakit Centers in DOH-run hospitals. (PNA)
Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go launched in Baguio City on Thursday, November 7, the 50th “Malasakit” center in the country.
The center will serve as a one-stop-shop for easy access to medical and financial assistance needed to receive health care services.
Go, together with Presidential Assistant for Visayas Michael Dino, turned over a check worth PHP5 million from the Office of the President (OP) and another PHP5 million check as additional medical assistance for indigent patients, or a total of PHP10 million initial fund of the center.
The fund will have to be liquidated by the center and will continuously be replenished to avoid its depletion.
This will be used to cover the amount that the indigent patients need after deducting the aid from the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
The four government agencies will be stationed at the center, Go said.
“Wala ng silang iisipin pa na babayaran dahil gobyerno na ang bahala. Hindi na rin nila kailangan pang mag-ikot wa ibat-ibang opisina para ipang bayad sa ospital (They [indigent patients] do not have to worry anymore because the government will take care of it. They do not even have to waste their time begging from offices for money to settle the hospital bills. They will have a zero billing after),” Go said.
Go said the Senate bill institutionalizing the Malasakit center has been approved on second reading on Tuesday.
He hopes that it will be approved for the third and final reading next week, noting that a counterpart bill at the House of Representatives is on the second reading.
“Hopefully, this will be passed before the end of the year so that the center will be fully operationalized with continuity. The bill will provide for the criteria that need to be established before it will be opened in a local government unit-run hospital. For DOH-run, it will be automatic,” Go said.
The bill, when made into law, will practically protect the operation of the 50 Malasakit centers in the country.
He said he discussed with Benguet governor Melchor Diclas, a surgeon, the process of setting up a facility for the Malasakit center at Benguet General Hospital.
“Sa Benguet malapit na rin matapos, siguro nakita nila governor na nakakatulong sa Pilipino. Isa lang aming layunin- mapabilis ang serbisyo medikal sa pasyente (The Benguet center is almost complete which they probably saw helps the Filipinos. This center has only one goal and that is to fast-track medical services for the patients),” Go said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Ricardo Runez, medical center chief of BGHMC, said the hospital receives about 1,500 outpatients daily and an average of 40,000 in-patients annually.
The BGHMC is an 800-bed capacity tertiary hospital that caters to patients from the Cordillera Administrative Region and Regions 1 (Ilocos), 2 (Cagayan Valley) and 3 (Central Luzon). The services of the Malasakit center will be received by any indigent patient regardless of whether they are from Baguio or any region in the country.
Runez said around 90 percent of BGHMC patients are indigents, who will benefit from the services of the Malasakit center.
“Di na sila mag-iisp ng panggastos sa hospital, di na nila problema (They will no longer be concerned with the cost of hospitalization. It would no longer be their problem),” he said.
He, however, said the patient will be evaluated by a social worker to ensure that indigent patients are the ones who will benefit.
Runez said before, patients lose hope due to lack of money to cash-out for hospital bills, which will be addressed by the Malasakit center.
“Basta indigent, kung ano ang hospital bill binabayaran ng Malasakit center (As long as they are indigents, their hospital bills will be settled by the Malasakit center),” Runez said. (PNA)
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