Press Release
February 1, 2020

60th Malasakit Center launched in Tawi-Tawi as Bong Go expresses commitment that in serving Filipinos, no one should be left behind

Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go on Friday, January 31, witnessed the launch of another Malasakit Center, this time at the Datu Halun Sakilan Memorial Hospital in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi. The center aims to assist poor and indigent Filipino patients in the southernmost province of the country who are in dire need of swift medical and financial assistance from the government.

The center is the 60th in the country after the latest one opened at the General Emilio Aguinaldo Memorial Hospital in Trece Martires City in Cavite on January 22.

Serving as a one-stop shop inside government hospitals where the process of providing government medical and financial assistance is expedited, Malasakit Centers were conceptualized and initiated by Go when he was still Special Assistant to the President to provide quick access to government medical services for all Filipinos.

"Dito po sa bagong Malasakit Center sa Tawi-Tawi, nasa iisang bahay na lamang ang apat na ahensiya ng gobyerno na handang magbigay ng tulong sa mga pasyente," Go said in his speech.

The said agencies represented in the center are the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) which have their own programs providing medical and financial assistance to poor and indigent patients in need.

"Noon, kailangan pa ninyong pumila sa iba't ibang opisina ng gobyerno para lamang sa financial assistance. Ubos na ang panahon ninyo, ubos pa ang pamasahe ninyo. Ngayon dahil may Malasakit Center dito sa Datu Halun Sakilan Memorial Hospital, magtutulungan (ang mga ahensiya ng gobyerno) para i-cover ang hospital expenses ninyo," Go said.

"Zero balance po ang target ng Malasakit Center," he added. The Senator also said that senior citizens and persons with disabilities will be prioritized in the centers through an express lane.

The office 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.

"Tuloy-tuloy po ito sa lahat ng mga DOH-run hospitals dahil napirmahan na ni Pangulo ang Malasakit Center Act of 2019. Ayon po sa batas, 73 na DOH-run hospitals ay lalagyan ng Malasakit Center," Go shared.

He added that the law, in addition to the DOH-run hospitals and the Philippine General Hospital, 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.

Go reiterated his commitment that as senator, he will make sure that all Filipinos feel the positive change happening in the country through the efforts of the Duterte Administration.

"Pera niyo po ito. Ibinabalik lang sa inyo sa pamamagitan ng mabilis, maayos at maaasahang serbisyo para sa lahat ng Pilipino," he said as he emphasized that in serving Filipinos, no one should be left behind.

During his speech, Go also expressed his and President Rodrigo Duterte's compassion for Filipino Muslims, citing the Anti-Discrimination Ordinance in Davao City as one of the reasons they continue to earn love and support from the Filipino Muslim community in the city.

"Mayroon po kaming Anti-Discrimination Ordinance sa Davao City, kaya naman napakarami naming mga kababayan na Muslim doon na nagmamahal sa amin ni PRRD," said Go.

He added that Duterte, when he was still mayor of Davao City, would visit Filipino Muslims from far-flung barangays and assist them in their pilgrimage to Mecca.

"Nung mayor pa si Tatay Digong, sa Davao dati, pinupuntahan namin ang mga pinakamalalayong barangays na puro Muslims. Tinutulungan namin sa kanilang pilgrimage sa Mecca," he added.

The Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, also known as the "Hajj" is a mandatory religious duty for all adult Muslims that must be done at least once in their lifetime. The pilgrimage usually occurs from the 8th to 12th of Dhu al-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar. In 2020, the Hajj is expected to commence on July 28 and will last until August 2.

After the Tawi Tawi launch, Go went to Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental to witness the opening of the 61st Malasakit Center at the Mayor Hilario A. Ramiro, Sr. Memorial Hospital.

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