Press Release
October 9, 2021

Bong Go lauds opening of first multi-sports arena and mega-vaccination site in Valenzuela City, calls on officials to focus on duty to serve and prioritize vaccine drive ahead of elections

Senator and Chair of the Senate Committee on Sports Christopher "Bong" Go on Thursday, October 7, personally witnessed the inauguration of the Wellness Entertainment Sports or WES Arena in Valenzuela City which he believes will serve as a catalyst for the further development of the city and its constituents.

In his speech, Go praised the city government for its handling of the vaccine drive. He expressed confidence that the arena will enable the program to expand at an even quicker rate and reminded officials to continue prioritizing getting their constituents vaccinated ahead of the campaign season.

"May pakiusap lang po ako sa lahat, wala pa naman pong kampanya. Medyo mainit lang 'yung usapan sa pulitika dahil nag-aantayan. Isa lang po ang pakiusap ko sa mga kababayan ko, sa mga kandidato, puwede ba mamaya na lang natin pag-usapan 'yung pulitika. Maraming salamat po sa lahat ng papuri pero mas kailangan po ng taumbayan ngayon na magtrabaho muna tayo," Go emphasized.

"Ulitin ko po, bakuna muna bago ang pulitika. 'Yun po ang kailangan natin sa ngayon," added Go, who also chairs the Senate Committee on Health.

An initiative of Deputy Speaker and 1st District Representative Weslie Gatchalian, the 1.2-hectare facility is the first multi-sports arena in Valenzuela and will feature basketball courts, a volleyball court, and a badminton area, among others. The arena will continue to be used as a vaccination site until the conclusion of the COVID-19 vaccination program.

"Ang ganda ng takbo ng vaccinations sa Metro Manila at nako-contain na ang mga kaso ngayon. Sana tuluy-tuloy ang ginagawa ninyo dito at nakakatuwa na mayroon tayong mga napakagaling na timon," he continued.

The Senator expressed optimism as the government expands the vaccination program to the general population. He explained that vaccines are key to achieving lasting protection against the virus towards herd immunity and return to normalcy.

"Mabilis 'yung pagpapabakuna natin ngayon, so nakakatuwa na unti-unti ng bumababa 'yung bilang ng mga kaso. Napatunayan natin na 'pag bakunado ka, protektado ka. Nakikiusap ako sa mga taga-Valenzuela, please magpabakuna na kayo. Huwag kayong matakot sa bakuna at pinaghirapan ng gobyerno na ma-procure ito para sa inyong lahat," continued Go.

"Nasa datos naman na kung sino ang nag-positibo at grabe 'yung sintomas ay kadalasan ito 'yung mga hindi pa bakunado. Kaya nakikiusap ako sa inyo, please magtiwala kayo sa gobyerno at magtiwala kayo sa bakuna," he appealed.

The government has currently administered a total of 48.4 million doses of vaccines with a daily average of 463,320 doses in the last seven days, as of October 6. A total of 22.7 million Filipinos are fully vaccinated while another 25.7 million have received their first shots.

To avoid further risks of getting and spreading the virus, Go also reminded the public to observe proper mask use, physical distancing and other health protocols. He assured that the government is doing everything it can to procure a sufficient supply of vaccines at the soonest possible time while ensuring patients continue to receive the care that they need.

In line with government's efforts to improve access to health care, the Senator announced the official launch of the country's 142nd and the city's second Malasakit Center which he also personally attended later in the day at the Valenzuela Medical Center. The Malasakit Center at the Valenzuela City Emergency Hospital previously opened its own in August 2019.

The Malasakit Centers are one-stop shops pioneered by Go that host the government agencies with programs that provide medical assistance to patients, particularly the poor and indigent. The agencies include the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

The program was institutionalized under Republic Act No. 11463, also known as the Malasakit Centers Act, which President Rodrigo Duterte signed in 2019. The Act, which Go authored and sponsored in the Senate, aims to help reduce a hospital bill to the lowest possible amount by covering various patient services and expenses. Representative Gatchalian filed the counterpart bill in the lower house.

"Batas ito na isinulong namin ni Senator (Sherwin) Gatchalian at Rep. Gatchalian noong 2019. Nasa loob na ng ospital ang mga ahensya na tutulungan kayo hanggang maging zero balance ang inyong billing para wala na kayong babayaran sa inyong pagpapa-ospital. Iyan ang Malasakit Center. Walang pinipili 'yan, walang pulitika diyan," explained Go.

"Huwag po kayong magpasalamat sa amin at kami ang dapat magpasalamat sa inyo dahil binigyan niyo kami ng pagkakataon para makapagserbisyo. Ako, hindi ko sasayangin ang oras na ito. Magseserbisyo ako sa inyong lahat sa abot ng aming makakaya," he vowed.

The ceremony was also attended by Sen. Gatchalian, Rep. Gatchalian, Mayor Rexlon Gatchalian, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr., Vaccine Czar and National Task Force Against Covid-19 Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez., Jr., Deputy Chief Implementer and Testing Czar Secretary Vivencio Dizon, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Benjamin Abalos Jr., and former Public Works and Highways secretary Mark Villar, among others.

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