Press Release
April 16, 2024

Northern Mindanao sees expansion of access to healthcare as Bong Go lauds launch of 162nd Malasakit Center

Northern Mindanao's healthcare landscape saw a significant enhancement with the establishment of the 162nd Malasakit Center at the First Misamis Oriental General Hospital in Medina town. This development is part of Senator Christopher "Bong" Go's ongoing efforts and support to ensure accessible healthcare for the underprivileged in the region.

In accordance with the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019 which Go principally authored and sponsored, the country now boasts 162 Malasakit Centers, with 42 located in Mindanao, including nine in Northern Mindanao alone. There are also 90 in Luzon and 30 in Visayas.

Aside from the newly launched center in First Misamis Oriental General Hospital, Malasakit Centers in Region X are also located in the Northern Mindanao Medical Center and J.R. Borja General Hospital, both in Cagayan de Oro City; Gregorio T. Lluch Memorial Hospital in Iligan City; Mayor Hilario A. Ramiro Sr. Medical Center in Ozamiz City; Kapatagan Provincial Hospital in Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte; Bukidnon Provincial Hospital in Maramag, Bukidnon; Doña Maria D. Tan Memorial Hospital in Tangub City; and Camiguin General Hospital in Mambajao, Camiguin.

Go, the architect of the Malasakit Centers program and Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, emphasized the impact of the initiative in aiding poor and indigent Filipinos in accessing medical services.

"Sa patuloy na paglaganap ng mga Malasakit Centers, lalong lumalawak ang ating kakayahan na ilapit sa mahihirap ang tulong pampagamot ng gobyerno lalo na sa Northern Mindanao," he said.

"Ang bawat pagbubukas ng Malasakit Center ay isang hakbang patungo sa mas maayos na kalusugan para sa mga Pilipino. Tandaan natin na ang kalusugan ay katumbas ng buhay ng bawat Pilipino," Go added.

The Malasakit Centers program is a one-stop shop where concerned agencies with medical assistance programs such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) are put under one room inside select public hospitals to provide streamlined access to such medical aid from the government.

"Sabi ko nga, bakit pa natin kailangan mas pahirapan ang mga mahihirap na humihingi ng tulong sa gobyerno? Pera naman nila 'yan, dapat lang na ibalik sa kanila sa pamamagitan ng mabilis, maayos at maginhawang serbisyo at tulong lalo na pagdating sa kalusugan," Go said earlier.

"Basta Pilipino ka, poor and indigent patient ka, qualified ka sa Malasakit Center. Lapitan niyo lang po ang Malasakit Center diyan po sa inyong lugar at tutulungan po kayo sa inyong hospital billing," he encouraged.

To further help bridge the gap between healthcare and Filipinos in need, Go also advocated establishing more Super Health Centers nationwide to bring primary care, consultations, and early disease detection closer to communities.

Through the concerted efforts of Go, fellow lawmakers, the DOH, led by Secretary Teodoro Herbosa, and local government units, adequate funding was allocated for more than 700 Super Health Centers nationwide. Among these funded, 43 are intended for Region X with thirteen in Misamis Oriental including six in Cagayan De Oro City.

Moreover, Go is the principal sponsor and one of the authors of Republic Act No. 11959, or the Regional Specialty Centers Act. The law mandates the establishment of Regional Specialty Centers within existing DOH regional hospitals to bring specialized medical services to all regions.

Northern Mindanao Medical Center currently houses several specialty centers, including cardiovascular care, lung care, orthopedic center, mental health, neonatal care, infectious disease, and tropical medicine. It also plans to have a renal care and transplant center, physical rehabilitation medicine, toxicology, cancer care, burn care, trauma care, geriatric care, and eye care.

"Ilapit natin ang serbisyo ng gobyerno sa mga taong nangangailangan nito. Bilang inyong Mr. Malasakit, patuloy akong magseserbisyo sa inyo sa abot ng aking makakaya dahil ang tangi kong bisyo ay magserbisyo at naniniwala ako na ang serbisyo sa tao ay serbisyo yan sa Diyos," said Go who is dubbed as Mr. Malasakit for his compassionate service for the poor.

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