Press Release
July 27, 2023

Bong Go backs Malacañang's healthcare, poverty alleviation plans; reminds concerned agencies to deliver on the President's commitments

"Always po ako, pro-poor programs at dapat po ay walang magutom na Pilipino."

Emphasizing his enduring commitment to pro-poor initiatives, healthcare system improvements, and the welfare of medical frontliners, Senator Christopher "Bong" Go expressed his support and satisfaction with the plans and programs that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. unveiled during his second State of the Nation Address (SONA).

In an interview on July 26, after assisting fire victims in Parañaque City, Go emphasized that while the first SONA outlined the administration's plans, the second showcased its various accomplishments during its first year in office.

"Alam n'yo po, sa una niyang SONA, mga plano po 'yun dahil first month pa po niya sa opisina. It's more of a plan, ano ba ang roadmap na plano niyang gawin bilang presidente," he said.

"Ito naman po, this time, it's different. This time, nakita na natin ang mga various accomplishments in one year ng kanyang panunungkulan," Go explained.

In his address, Marcos outlined various programs aimed at uplifting the country's poor, a cause that Go has also committed to pursue.

"Always po ako, pro-poor programs at dapat po ay walang magutom na Pilipino. 'Yan po ang pakiusap ko parati sa executive," said Go.

"Kung meron kayong isusulong na batas, suportado ko po ito basta po makakatulong sa mahihirap po at hindi mapunta sa korapsyon ang pera," he stated.

On the health programs and initiatives announced during the SONA, Go, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health, commended the administration's ongoing efforts to improve the country's healthcare system.

He specifically lauded Marcos' plans on improving the country's preparedness for future pandemics, citing the unprecedented effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Natutuwa po ako na meron pong mga plano ang ating administrasyon, si Pangulong Bongbong Marcos, kung paano mas mapa-improve ang ating healthcare system," said Go.

"Alam n'yo, mas mabuti tayong handa sa anumang pandemyang darating sa buhay natin dahil nabigla talaga tayo noong 2020, so the more we should invest sa ating mga healthcare facilities, sa ating healthcare system," Go expressed.

In relation to this, Go has been pushing for the passage of Senate Bill No. 195, or the creation of a Center for Disease Control. This proposed legislation aims to create a central hub for disease prevention, surveillance, and control, addressing both infectious and non-communicable diseases.

Go also filed SBN 196, which seeks the establishment of a Virology Science and Technology Institute. The institute is envisioned to enhance the country's capacity to study, detect, and combat emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases.

Go also emphasized the importance of the establishment of Super Health Centers in providing primary care in grassroots communities, facilitating early disease detection, and helping decongest hospitals.

He explained that these centers could provide check-ups, laboratory tests, and x-rays, and could serve as birthing facilities, preventing the need for hospital transfers.

"Early detection, ibig sabihin para hindi na lumala ang sakit at hindi na dalhin sa ospital. At it will help decongest 'yung hospital," said Go.

Go likewise highlighted the Regional Specialty Centers bill which he sponsored and co-authored in the Senate. The centers, designed as part of a multi-year plan, aim to provide specialized healthcare services such as heart, neonatal, orthopedic, and transplant care, thereby eliminating the need for patients to travel long distances to receive such treatments.

"Natutuwa rin po ako na itong bill na isinulong ko, ako po ang author at sponsor sa Senado, sa tulong po ng mga kasamahan ko sa Senado, ito pong Regional Specialty Center na magtatatag po ng mga specialty center sa buong Pilipinas," Go shared.

Once signed into law by the President, this legislation will facilitate the establishment of specialty centers in Department of Health (DOH) regional hospitals throughout the country.

Go also noted the continuing operations of 158 Malasakit Centers across the country, a welcome development for poor and indigent patients in need of access to medical and financial assistance from the government in public hospitals.

The Malasakit Centers bring together representatives from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, DOH, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. These one-stop shops aim to support impoverished patients in reducing their hospital costs to the least possible amount.

Go is the principal author and sponsor of Republic Act No. 11463 or the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, which institutionalized the Malasakit Centers program.

To date, these centers have helped more than seven million Filipinos nationwide, according to the DOH.

Go also reminded the Department of Budget and Management as well as the DOH to deliver on the promise of the President to release the risk allowances of medical frontliners, which has yet to be paid out.

"Napakaliit nito na halaga kumpara po sa sakripisyo na ginawa nila, ginawa ng mga medical frontliners sa panahon ng pandemya," he said.

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