159th Malasakit Center opens in Bislig
JAVIER JOE ISMAEL
The Manila Times
SEN. Christopher “Bong” Go, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, attended the launch of the country’s 159th Malasakit Center at the Bislig District Hospital in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur, last Friday. The Malasakit Center program, a brainchild of Go, aims to provide a seamless and expedited process for particularly poor and indigent patients to access government medical assistance programs. It was an idea born out of the senator’s concern for the wellbeing of the poorest Filipinos, who often struggle to get medical care. Bislig District Hospital is the third Malasakit Center in the province, following Lianga District Hospital in Lianga and Adela Serra Ty Memorial Medical Center in Tandag City. “As chairman of the Committee on Health, this Malasakit Center is my priority to ensure that you have something to look up to in time of your hospitalization needs. The four agencies of the government, PhilHealth, PCSO, DoH and DSWD are there ready to help you with your medication. Just go to the Malasakit Center. That is for the Filipinos,” said Go, principal author and sponsor of the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019. The Malasakit Center serves as a one-stop shop, streamlining the assistance process by bringing together various government agencies under one roof. Patients can seek assistance for their medical bills, laboratory fees and other related expenses without the hassle of multiple visits and endless paperwork. During the launch, Go expressed his gratitude to the local officials, including Rep. Johnny Pimentel, Gov. Alexander Pimentel, Mayor Florencio Garay and Vice Mayor Alfredo Carmelo, as well as the medical staff and partner agencies who have made the program’s expansion possible. According to the Department of Health (DoH), these centers have assisted more than 7 million Filipinos nationwide. On the same day, Go provided gift packs to 32 newlywed couples during the Kasalan ng Bayan in Bislig City. He also took part in the “Pagtutulay, Pagtutuloy: Strengthening Partnerships in Philippine Public Higher Education” summit that was held at Dusit Thani in Davao City. Meanwhile, Go also extended assistance to 129 patients and 191 frontliners, including security guards, utilities, and hospital staff. They all received grocery packs, masks, vitamins and snacks, while select recipients received mobile phones, shoes, watches, shirts, basketballs and volleyballs. Still in line with his efforts to bolster the health sector, Go has supported the construction of several Super Health Centers nationwide. Under the 2022 national budget, super health centers will be established in Surigao del Sur, particularly in Cantilan, Hinatuan, Lianga and Lingig. In 2023, more centers will be established in Barobo, San Agustin and Tagbina. These centers will offer database management, outpatient, birthing, isolation, diagnostic (laboratory: X-ray, ultrasound), pharmacy, and an ambulatory surgical unit. Other available services are eye, ear, nose and throat (EENT) services; oncology centers; physical therapy and rehabilitation centers; and telemedicine, which makes remote diagnosis and treatment of patients possible. Through the collective efforts of Go, DoH and fellow lawmakers, enough funds have been allocated to build 307 Super Health Centers in 2022 and 322 in 2023. DoH, which is the lead agency in implementing the program, identifies the strategic locations for the construction of these centers.