More people will get easier and convenient access to medical and financial assistance after Senator Christopher “Bong” Go led the virtual launch of the country’s 84th Malasakit Center in Zambales on September 25, 2020.
The Malasakit Center, the first in the province and ninth in Region 3, is located at President Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Hospital in Iba, Zambales. The hospital is also being used to treat people infected with coronavirus disease 2019.
“84th na Malasakit Center na po itong sa inyo sa Zambales at tuluy-tuloy po ito dahil batas na po ito ngayon (This 84th Malasakit Center is for you in Zambales and more will come because this is already a law),” Go said is his live video message.
Expressing his concern for Filipinos who had to spend long hours just to get government assistance, Go explained that the purpose of this one-stop shop center is to ensure that Filipinos gain easier and more convenient access to medical and financial assistance from the government.
“Mahirap magkasakit, ito ang mga panahon na litoug-lito ang mga kababayan natin at hindi nila alam saan sila hihingi ng tulong (It’s hard to be sick. This is the time when people are confused where to get assistance),” he said.
In Malasakit Centers, patients or their representatives will only need to fill up a unified form to request assistance, instead of having to visit government offices scattered in various locations. An express lane for persons with disability and senior citizens is also available.
Concerned agencies extending medical and financial assistance housed in these centers are the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Health, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
With the enactment of the Republic Act 11463, otherwise known as the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, all hospitals run by the DOH all over the country and in the Philippine General Hospital in Manila are now mandated to establish their own Malasakit Centers.
Under the law, local government hospitals can also have their own Malasakit Center provided they follow the criteria.
“Sumunod kayo sa criteria kaya meron na kayong Malasakit Center dyan sa Iba, Zambales (You followed criteria, that’s why you have Malasakit Center there in Iba, Zambales),” he added.
Patients who would be admitted to LGU-run and other public hospitals but are eligible for medical and financial assistance could also seek assistance from the Malasakit Centers.
“Sa mga pasyente po sa Zambales, iparating nyo lang sa mga kapitbahay nyo na meron na kayong Malasakit Center. Para po ito sa mga poor and indigent patients. Wala pong pulitika dito, wala pong pinipili dito (For residents of Zambales, spread the news to your neighbors that you have Malasakit Center. This is for poor and indigent patients. No politics, no favoritism),” Go said.
In his video message, Go also asked honest Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) employees to continue working for the betterment of the country, help in the fight against corruption, and deliver the best service to citizens.
“Mga taga-PhilHealth, ‘wag po kayo mawalan ng pag-asa. Alam ko pong mas marami pang matitinong empleyado ng PhilHealth na gustong maglingkod ng buong katapatan (For honest PhilHealth employees, don’t worry, I know you want to serve in all sincerity,” he said.
As lawmaker, Go expressed his commitment to find the truth behind the corruption issues in the agency, saying that those involved must be held accountable.
“Ang atin naman dito ay malaman natin ang katotohanan, managot ang dapat managot, makasuhan, masuspinde, ma-dismiss at makulong, ma-audit at ma-lifestyle check ang mga may kagagawan nito. Ilan lang naman po yan (We want to find the truth, involved must be held accountable, file cases, suspend, dismiss, and conduct lifestyle check on those involved),” Go said.
Go assured he and President Rodrigo Duterte will do their best to stamp out corruption within the government.
He stressed the need for cooperation from the citizens to help in the campaign to cleanse government and provide the best service to the people.
“Sana po walang masayang na pera at kami po ni Pangulong Duterte ay patuloy naming gagawin ang lahat para malinis po itong PhilHealth… Tulungan nyo lang po kami. Magtulungan po tayo dahil di po namin kayang gawin ‘yan kung kami lang po dito sa taas ang gagawa (I hope no money will be wasted. President Duterte and I will do our best to cleanse this PhilHealth. You have to help us. Let’s help each other because we cannot do it if only us will act),” he ended.