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Go attends launching of 40th Malasakit Center in Valenzuela

/ 06:48 PM August 11, 2019

Sen. Christopher Go cuts the ribbon at the inauguration of the 40th Malasakit Center in Valenzuela. With him are (from left) Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino of the Office of Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, and Valenzuela Rep. Weslie Gatchalian. (Photo from the Office of Sen. Christopher Go)

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go attended on Friday, Aug. 9, the launching of the Malasakit Center at the Valenzuela City Emergency Hospital — the 17th in Luzon and the 40th nationwide.

The event was led by Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino of the Office of Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) and City Mayor Rex Gatchalian. Also attending was Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

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OPAV was a partner of the Office of the Special Assistant to the President in establishing earlier Malasakit Centers when Go was still with the executive branch.

In his speech, Go recounted how his vision of providing quick access to affordable quality healthcare to all Filipinos through Malasakit Centers came into fruition.

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“Nagsimula po itong Malasakit Center noong Special Assistant to the President pa ang inyong Kuya Bong. Iminungkahi ko ito sa Pangulo dahil, sa mahigit dalawampung taon kong paglilingkod sa kanya, nakita ko na napakalaking problema sa mga Pilipino kapag may miyembro ng pamilya na nagkakasakit,” he said.

[This Malasakit Center started when I, your Kuya Bong, was still Special Assistant to the President. I proposed this to the President because in my 20 years of serving him I saw how big a problem it was for Filipinos whenever a family member gets sick.]

“Para sa inyo ang opisinang ito dahil pera ng bayan ang ginagamit dito. Ibinabalik lang ng maayos ang ipinagkatiwala ninyo sa gobyerno,” he added.

[My office is for you because it is using the people’s money. I’m just returning to you what you have entrusted to the government.]

To extend the reach of these one-stop health care centers, Go vowed to institutionalize them through his proposed Senate Bill No. 199, also known as the Malasakit Center Act of 2019, so that their operations would continue even beyond the Duterte administration.

“The Malasakit Centers have helped thousands of Filipinos, and I will make sure that they will be able to help so many more,” Go said.

“The first bill that I filed in the Senate aims to institutionalize Malasakit Centers. This means that if passed into law, the Malasakit Centers will have a bigger and regular budget every year and their operations will continue regardless of who is seated in Malacañang,” he added.

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Valenzuela City 1st District Rep. Weslie Gatchalian, who was also present during the ceremony, said that he had filed a counterpart Malasakit Center bill in the House, House Bill No. 2309, which requires PhilHealth to establish, operate and maintain these centers in all public hospitals.

Currently, there are 11 Malasakit Center-related bills filed in the House to complement the Universal Health Care Act, which was signed into law last year.

In an ambush interview, Go was aksed how many Malasakit Centers the government aims to build nationwide.

“Wala pong limit. Kaya nag-file po ako ng bill na mag-institutionalize ng mga centers, mandating not just DOH-run public hospitals to set up Malasakit Centers, but also provincial and city hospitals,” he said.

[There’s no limit. That’s why I filed a bill that will institutionalize the centers, mandating not just DOH [Department of Health]-run public hospitals to set up Malasakit Centers but also provincial and city hospitals.]

Curtailing the spread of dengue

Go was also asked about measures to curtail the rising number of dengue cases nationwide.

He advised the public to observe the Enhanced 4S strategy of the DOH to mitigate the epidemic.

“May Malasakit Center din po na handang tumulong sa mga magkakasakit ng dengue,” he said.

[There are Malasakit Centers that will also help those suffering from dengue.]

The Enhanced 4-S campaign stands for the following:

  • search and destroy mosquito-breeding sites
  • secure self-protection measures like wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts and daily use of mosquito repellent
  • seek early consultation
  • support fogging or spraying only in hotspot areas where an increase in cases is registered for two consecutive weeks to prevent an impending outbreak
  • Go noted that the DOH had already requested hospitals to allot express lanes to prioritize dengue patients and address their needs swiftly.

“Kailangan po ng kooperasyon ng lahat ng Pilipino, lalo na maraming kaso ng dengue ngayon dahil tag-ulan,” Go said.

[We need the cooperation of all Filipino, especially now that there are many cases of dengue because of the rainy season.]

Asked about the possible revival of the controversial Dengvaxia program, Go said that experts should prove first that the would be 100-percent safe to regain public public.

“Ako talaga, dapat mismo ang Food and Drug Administration at mga eksperto ang magpatunay na safe ang Dengvaxia. Magpakita sila sa publiko at magpaturok sila mismo para mawala ang takot sa mga Pilipino,” Go said.

[For me, the Food and Drug Administration and experts should prove that Dengvaxia is safe. Let them show up in public and get themselves injected with the vaccine so that Filipinos will lose their fear.]

Other health care bills

Go also shared with the Valenzuela residents some the following bills related to improving health care in the country:

the Advanced Nursing Education Act of 2019, which seeks to improve nursing education (SB No. 395)

the Barangay Health Workers Act of 2019, which seeks to ensure that each barangay will have enough health workers (SB No. 392)

a measure to expand the coverage of the Mandatory Basic Immunization Program (SB No. 398)

As someone who travels across the country regularly to aid victims of disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons, Go also vows to diminish the incidences of fatalities in these tragedies as he filed a bill pushing for the creation of an executive department for disaster resilience (SB No. 205).

This will then be complemented by another measure which seeks to institutionalize an emergency medical services system nationwide (SB No. 394), similar to the Central 911 system of Davao City.

Finally, Go also filed a bill to promote the welfare of health care professionals by pushing for an increase in the salaries of government civilian personnel (SB No. 200).

During the event, Go emphasized his commitment and dedication to improving government services for all Filipinos.

“Ako po ang boses ninyo sa Senado. Kaya nais kong personal na marinig ang mga hinaing ninyo. Makaaasa kayong patuloy ang aming serbisyo para sa ikabubuti ng bawat Pilipino,” he said.

[I am your voice in the Senate. So I want to personally hear your problems. You can expect us to continue our service for the benefit of every Filipino.]

/atm

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TAGS: Bong Go, Christopher Go, health care centers, Malasakit Center
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