Senator Christopher ‘Bong’ Go and Basilan General Hospital officials and staff launch the 135th Malasakit Center. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
SEN. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go praised the government’s efforts to address disparities in access to health care, especially in remote and underserved areas, announcing the establishment of the tenth Malasakit center in the Eastern Visayas.
The initiative is part of a much larger program to improve access to affordable and quality health care, especially for low-income Filipinos.
“The Malasakit center is for our poor compatriots, the defenseless, hopeless and without anyone to turn to. Before, several patients had to leave the hospital and go around different offices for help, ”Go said.
“Now they don’t need to do it anymore because the government agencies that will help them with their hospital bills are already in a room inside the hospital,” he explained.
Many communities in the Eastern Visayas have long struggled to access quality health services for geographic and socio-economic reasons. In addition to the obstacles they face, most government assistance is available in metropolitan areas, such as Tacloban and Cebu City.
As a result, low-income residents were denied health care at one point because they did not have the financial resources to receive the necessary treatment outside their communities, according to Go, who chairs the Senate committee. health and demography.
To meet these challenges, the senator, in collaboration with the relevant agencies, lobbied for the creation of a Malasakit center in every major hospital in every province in the region.
Eastern Visayan hospitals with Malasakit centers include Northern Samar Provincial Hospital in Catarman, Northern Samar; Samar Provincial Hospital in the city of Catbalogan, Samar; Eastern Samar Provincial Hospital in Borongan City; Biliran Provincial Hospital in Naval, Biliran; Salvacion Oppus Yñiguez Memorial Provincial Hospital in Maasin City, Southern Leyte; Leyte Provincial Hospital and Leyte Provincial Hospital in Palo, Leyte; Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center in the city of Tacloban; Ormoc District Hospital in Ormoc Town; and the New Western Leyte Provincial Hospital in Baybay City, which opened on Friday August 20.
Go is the author and sponsored of the passage of the bill that institutionalizes the program of the Malasakit centers. President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Law No. 11463 or the “Malasakit Centers Law of 2019” in December 2019.
The program brings together under one roof the relevant government agencies from which poor and indigent patients can seek medical assistance, namely the Ministry of Health (DoH), the Ministry of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corp. and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes. Office.
The law also orders every hospital operated by the DoH, including the Philippine General Hospital, to establish a Malasakit center. Other public hospitals can also open theirs on condition of guaranteeing the sustainability of its operation in accordance with the criteria set by law.
To date, there are 75 centers in Luzon, 27 in Visayas and 35 in Mindanao.
Seventy-two are hospitals managed by local government units while 63 are hospitals retained by the DoH. One is managed by the Ministry of National Defense while another is managed by a state university.
“I am happy with the almost simultaneous openings of the Malasakit Centers. I am convinced that this would be of great help for our compatriots, especially those who have no one to turn to except the government,” Go continued.
Duterte said in his latest State of the Nation address that “by establishing Malasakit centers across the country we have actually leveled the playing field and provided our less fortunate compatriots with the medical care they deserve. . We will establish more “.
“With the creation of the Malasakit Centers, people no longer need to go to different government agencies to ask for help. It is now the government that goes to the people,” said Duterte.
More than two million poor and needy patients have benefited from the program so far and Go has assured that more Malasakit centers will soon be established in various parts of the country.
At the recent launch of the new Baybay City center, Governor Leopoldo Dominic Petilla expressed his gratitude and said: “Senator Go can also be considered a father of Leyte Province because of his unwavering support for us. .