Press Release
December 2, 2023

Bong Go champions senior citizens' welfare at the 2nd National Commission of Senior Citizens-NCR Summit

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go, in his address at the 2nd National Commission of Senior Citizens (NCSC)-National Capital Region Stakeholders' Summit, passionately advocated for the welfare of senior citizens, highlighting his commitment to enhancing their quality of life and fostering a sense of community for the elderly.

"Your theme resonates deeply with the values we hold. It is essential that we work together for the unity and progress of our senior citizens, " Go said as he praised the summit's theme, "Ugnayan para sa Pagkakaisa; Pag-unlad Tungo sa Mahalagang Pag-usad."

Reflecting on his personal connections, he shared heartfelt memories of his grandmother, emphasizing the deep bond and respect he holds for the elderly.

"Malapit po ako sa lola ko noon. Pinapasyal niya po ako dito sa Manila kahit taga Davao kami," he reminisced, underlining the personal influence that shaped his commitment to senior citizens' welfare.

"Hinding hindi ko po malilimutan ang lola ko," he added, conveying the lasting impact of these early experiences on his dedication to elder care and advocacy.

Go highlighted the significant role seniors play in family and community. "Gusto kong pangalagaan ang buhay ng atin mga lolo at lola," he said, stressing the importance of cherishing the time spent with elderly loved ones and acknowledging their contributions to our lives.

Addressing the seniors directly, he emphasized the importance of open communication with the government and their organizations, ensuring they know they are heard and valued. He highlighted that Republic Act 11350, which created the NCSC was enacted during the administration of former president Rodrigo Duterte.

Go has been a staunch advocate of the welfare of senior citizens. Previously, he co-authored RA 11916, an Act Increasing the Social Pension of Indigent Senior Citizens, which amended RA 7432, the first Senior Citizens Act.

"This amendment is a step forward in ensuring a better quality of life for our senior citizens. It's crucial that we provide them with the necessary support to live comfortably," Go said previously.

"Nandiyan na ang batas. Dapat ma-implementa ito ng maayos para mapakinabangan ng taumbayan lalo na ng mga matatanda na sakop ng batas na ito. Ibigay dapat ang nararapat sa kanila at huwag patagalin pa," he stressed.

Go also co-authored and co-sponsored Senate Bill No. (SBN) 2028, which was principally sponsored by Senator Imee Marcos. The bill aims to provide additional support to individuals who have reached 80 and 90 years old. This proposal amends the Centenarian Act of 2016, to provide support even to those nearing the milestone of a century years old.

He emphasized the cultural significance of caring for the elderly in the country and highlighted the importance of providing them with financial support while they can still benefit from and enjoy it.

"Nasa kultura na nating mga Pilipino na alagaan ang ating mga nakakatanda. Dapat natin silang suportahan at bigyan ng pagkilala. Habang kaya pang pakinabangan at ma-enjoy ng senior citizen ang cash gift, ibigay na natin sa kanila," said Go.

Go, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, also urged the public to utilize medical and financial assistance from any of the Malasakit Centers in the country.

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

Go is the principal author and sponsor of RA 11463 or the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, which institutionalized the Malasakit Centers program. Currently, 159 Malasakit Centers are operational across the country, poised to assist with patients' medical expenses. The DOH reported that the Malasakit Center program has already provided aid to more than ten million Filipinos.

He also reiterated his commitment to support the establishment of more Super Health Centers across the country, considering how they can significantly help reduce hospital occupancy rates while bringing government medical services closer to the grassroots.

He said that Super Health Centers are designed to focus on primary care, consultation, and early detection, further strengthening the country's healthcare sector, especially in grassroots communities.

Services offered in Super Health Centers include database management, out-patient, birthing, isolation, diagnostic (laboratory: x-ray and ultrasound), pharmacy, and ambulatory surgical unit. Other available services are eye, ear, nose, and throat (EENT) service, oncology centers, physical therapy and rehabilitation centers, and telemedicine.

Finally, Go also principally sponsored and is one of the authors of RA 11959, also known as the Regional Specialty Centers Act, which was signed into law by President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr., on August 24.

The law mandates the establishment of Regional Specialty Centers within existing DOH regional hospitals. It stands as a testament to the commitment of the government to uplift the nation's health infrastructure.

"Sa pamamagitan ng Malasakit Centers, Super Health Centers at Regional Specialty Centers na aking isinulong kasama mga kapwa ko mambabatas, mas mailalapit natin ang serbisyong medikal sa taumbayan, lalo na sa mga may edad na para hindi na sila mahirapan magpagamot," Go explained.

Meanwhile, Go and his team generously handed out specially assembled senior citizen packs, containing nutritious goods, to each of the 260 senior citizens in attendance at the event.

In his concluding remarks, Go called upon each individual to embrace the spirit of kindness and generosity, highlighting the fleeting nature of life and the paramount importance of acting with compassion and promptness in our daily interactions.

"Tandaan po natin minsan lang tayo dadaan sa mundong ito. Kung anuman po na kabutihan o tulong ang pwede natin gawin sa ating kapwa ay gawin na natin ngayon," he concluded.

Earlier that day, Go attended the Bicameral Conference Committee on House Bill No. 8980, or the General Appropriations Bill in Makati City. He then personally attended the 48th Annual National Convention and 3E Xpo of the Institute of Integrated Electrical Engineers (IIEE) of the Philippines Incorporated at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. After which, he visited Malabon City to lead the groundbreaking of the city's Super Health Center.

On the same day, Go's staff also attended the year-end meeting of the Federation of Senior Citizens Associations of the Philippines composed of regional presidents in Taguig City to express support to initiatives that will promote the welfare of senior citizens.

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