42nd Malasakit Center opens in Pagadian City
PAGADIAN CITY, Zamboanga del Sur — Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go joined launching on Friday, Sept. 13, of Malasakit Center at the Zamboanga del Sur Medical Center in this city.
It’s the 42nd in the country, 11th in Mindanao and the fourth in the Zamboanga Peninsula, with three others having opened in the cities of Zamboanga, Dapitan and Dipolog.
The launch was led by Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV). 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 message, Go said that the Duterte administration was aiming to launch more Malasakit Centers nationwide, providing millions of Filipinos better access to government medical and financial assistance.
“Sa inyong suporta, naniniwala po akong hindi malabo na makamit natin ang layuning ito,” Go said.
[With your support, I believe there’s no doubt that we will reach this goal.]
A Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop where all representatives of different government agencies, such as the Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), PhilHealth and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) are all gathered under one roof.
In these centers, applicants seeking financial assistance for their medical concerns need to fill out one form only. They need not have to queue up in different government offices. The centers also have special express lanes for senior citizens and persons with disabilities.
In his earlier pronouncements, Go stressed that the Malasakit Center initiative was just one of the ways of the government was giving taxpayers back their money.
“Pera po ninyo ito ibinabalik lang sa inyo sa pamamagitan ng mabilis, maayos at maaasahang serbisyong may malasakit para sa bawat Pilipino,” Go said.
[This is money that is just being returned to you through quick, orderly and reliable service that cares for every Filipino.]
In an ambush interview, Go said that he had filed Senate Bill No. 199 — the Malasakit Center Act of 2019 — to institutionalize these centers in the country’s healthcare system. This will also pave the way for the establishment of Malasakit Centers in all hospitals run by the Department of Health.
Go warns Bilibid drug lords
Meanwhile, Go was also asked about the hospital-pass-for-sale controversy involving drug lords at the New Bilibid Prison.
“Imbes na dextrose, iba na ang ilalagay sa kanila para dumiretso na sa morgue,” Go said.
[Instead of dextrose, they will something else so that they would go straight to the morgue.]
The senator’s sentiments come after revelations during a Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearing on Thursday, Sept. 12, that drug lords are taking advantage of the hospital-pass-for-sale scheme to escape jail congestion and conduct their drug deals inside the NBP hospital.
During the hearing, the senator revealed that some high-profile prisoners had been bribing officials of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) in order to be confined at the national penitentiary hospital where they could continue their criminal activities.
“We have received reports that some inmates were moved into the New Bilibid Prison Hospital by faking their illness and buying the so-called ‘hospital referral pass’ from BuCor employees,” Go said during the public hearing on the issue.
“Nagpapanggap na may sakit para ma-admit sa ospital tapos doon na nagaganap ang illegal drug trading,” he added.
[The pretend to be sick so that they would be admitted to the hospital where they would conduct their illegal drug trading.]
Go also asserted that justice must be served in regard to these corruption scandals and anomalies faced by the country’s correctional facilities.
“Dapat mayroon managot sa mga nadiskubreng katiwalian at iligal na gawain sa loob ng NBP. Magpapatuloy din ang suspension sa mga opisyal na mapapatunayang sangkot tulad ng halos 30 opisyal na sinuspende na,” Go said.
[Somebody has to answer for the corruption and illegal activities discovered inside the NBP. The suspension of officials who would be proven to be involved in these activities will continue — like those 30 officials who had already been suspended.]
The senator added that even the doctors and other members of hospital staff would face the chopping block should they be found to be involved in corruption.
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