Press Release
August 17, 2021

136th Malasakit Center launched in Labuan, Zamboanga City as Bong Go assures Filipinos of improved access to medical assistance nationwide

On Saturday, August 14, Senator Christopher "Bong" Go personally attended the launch of the 136th Malasakit Center at Labuan General Hospital in Labuan, Zamboanga City. This is the third Malasakit Center in the city, in addition to Zamboanga City Medical Center and Mindanao Central Sanitarium. LGH is also the 7th Malasakit Center in Zamboanga Peninsula and the 35th in Mindanao.

During his speech, Go shared his more than 20 years of experience in helping indigents who struggle to seek medical attention. This led him to focus his efforts on providing convenient access to quality healthcare services when he was elected Senator in 2019.

Go, who is also the Chair of Senate Committee on Health, authored and sponsored the measure which became Republic Act No. 11463, otherwise known as the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019.

"Pinakiusapan ko 'yung PhilHealth, PCSO, DOH, DSWD. Pinagtatabi-tabi namin para tumulong po sa mga hospital bills. 'Yun po ang itinawag natin na Malasakit Center," said Go.

"Sabi ko, bakit natin pahirapan 'yung Pilipino, eh pera nila 'yan? Pera niyo 'yan. Inyo po 'yan. Dapat po ibalik sa inyo sa mabilis na serbisyo. 'Yan po ang Malasakit Center. Kaya noong naging senador po ako, isinabatas po natin ito," he continued.

The law mandates all hospitals administered and managed by the Department of Health and the Philippine General Hospital in the City of Manila to open their own Malasakit Centers. Other public hospitals may also establish their own provided they meet a standard set of criteria and guarantee the sustainability of their operations.

It is a one-stop shop that puts together all concerned agencies under one roof to assist Filipinos with their medical expenses. Among the agencies that offer medical assistance are DOH, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

"Uulitin ko, ang Malasakit Center po ay para sa mga Pilipino lalo na sa mga poor and indigent patients. Nakikiusap ako sa ospital na lagyan po ng mga express lane para sa mga disabled at tsaka sa mga senior citizens," Go said.

Go also attended the launch of the 135th Malasakit Center in Basilan General Hospital earlier that day. In his travel to Basilan, the helicopter he was riding encountered problems. Fortunately, no one was hurt and they landed safely.

"Ako po'y naniniwala na kung panahon mo na talaga, kukunin ka ng Panginoon, kukunin ka ni Allah... Kahit saan ka magtago, 'pag panahon mo na po kukunin ka na. Kung hindi mo pa panahon, hindi ka pa mawawala sa mundong ito," he said.

"Ako naman po kung saka-sakali mayroong nangyari 'man sa akin, wala po akong magagawa. Isa pong karangalan sa akin, kung saka-sakali 'man, na mamamatay na nagseserbisyo po sa aking kapwa," he added.

Go said he is not afraid to die especially if it happens while opening a Malasakit Center that can help save the lives of others. He added that it is an honor to die in service of the country and any opportunity to contribute to the betterment of fellow Filipinos must not be wasted.

"So salamat po, salamat sa Panginoon, salamat kay Allah na binuhay pa po ako ngayong araw na ito. Marahil po'y marami pa tayong mission sa mundong ito. Ang buhay po ay napaka-ikli lamang hindi natin masabi biglang ganon lang po kabilis," he emphasized.

"Tandaan natin minsan lang tayo dadaan sa mundong ito. Kung anumang kabutihan o tulong ang puwede natin gawin sa ating kapwa tao, gawin na po natin ngayon dahil hindi na tayo babalik sa mundong ito. Kami po ni Pangulong Duterte patuloy po kaming magseserbisyo sa inyong lahat dahil para sa amin po ang serbisyo sa tao, serbisyo po 'yan sa Panginoon, serbisyo po 'yan kay Allah," he added.

The Senator went on to extend his gratitude towards medical frontliners, saying, "Isa lang po ang pakiusap ko sa inyo. Huwag niyo pong pabayaan 'yung mga mahihirap. Huwag niyong pabayaan 'yung mga helpless, 'yung mga hopeless."

He then encouraged residents to participate in the national vaccination program, especially those who are part of the priority groups, as he reiterated that vaccines against COVID-19 are the key to the country's return to normalcy.

"Mga kababayan ko dito sa Zamboanga, may pakiusap lang kami ni Pangulong Duterte sa inyo, please lang po magtiwala ho kayo sa bakuna. Ang bakuna po ang tanging solusyon para unti-unti na tayong makabalik sa ating normal na pamumuhay," said Go.

"Medyo mabilis na po ang vaccine roll out natin at magsabi lang po kayo dito sa Zamboanga kung kailangan niyo po ng tulong sa bakuna, tutulong po ako doon sa Maynila sa IATF para mapabilis po ang vaccine roll out niyo dito. Magsabi lang po kayo ngayon, tutulong po ako," he added.

Go's team then handed out grocery packs, meals, masks, face shields, and vitamins to 42 patients and 132 medical frontliners. Some beneficiaries also received new pairs of shoes or bicycles while others were given computer tablets for their children's educational needs.

Furthermore, representatives from DSWD also granted financial assistance to indigent patients and 187 rank and file hospital employees, including janitors and security guards.

"Isa lang po ang pakiusap ko sa susunod na administrasyon, kung sino man sila. Sana po ay kung ano po 'yung mga programang nakakatulong sa mga mahihirap, sana po ipatuloy nila," said Go.

"Kami ni Presidente Duterte, andiyan lang kami, makita lang namin ang aming mga kababayan na tumatawa ay nakakawala po ng pagod. Tao lang rin po kami ni Pangulong Duterte, napapagod rin subalit kayo po ang nagbibigay lakas sa amin upang magserbisyo sa inyo upang malampasan po natin itong krisis na ito," he ended.

The ceremony was attended by Assistant Secretary Girlie Veloso of Office of the President, Representatives Cesar "Jawo" Jimenez Jr. and Manuel Jose " Mannix " Dalipe, Mayor Isabelle "Beng" Climaco Salazar, Vice Mayor Romel Agan, and Chief of Hospital Dr. Joshua Brillantes, among others.

After the launch, Go proceeded to Labuan Central School where he and his outreach team distributed various forms of assistance to 905 Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association members and fisherfolk.

As Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, Go extended his support in several infrastructure projects in the province to boost its economic growth. Among these were flood control projects; multi-purpose buildings in Aurora, Dimataling, Dinas, Kumalarang, Lapuyan, Pagadian City, Ramon Magsaysay, Sominot, and Tigbao; road improvements in Dimataling, Dinas, Dumalinao, Josefina, Misalip, and San Miguel; acquisition of multi-purpose vehicles; construction of a public market in San Pablo, municipal public park in Tambulig, evacuation center in Tigbao, and a two-storey hospital building for Camp Navarro General Hospital, among others.

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