Bong Go extends aid to barangay frontliners




The Manila Times


SEN. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, chairman of both the Senate Committees on Health and Demography and Sports, on Monday, November 28, vowed to continue his pursuit of enhancing the country’s health care system and grassroots sports programs as he provided aid to barangay tanod (village watchmen) and barangay kagawad (village councilors) in Caloocan City. Go was joined by fellow senators Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, Francis Tolentino and Maria Imelda Josefa “Imee” Marcos, as well as Caloocan City Second District Rep. Mitch Cajayon-Uy and Mayor Along Malapitan. Barangay officials across Caloocan City were also present during the visit. In his message to residents, Go explained how a well-established grassroots sports program can help improve the health and well-being of Filipinos. He said encouraging the youth to participate in sports will help them avoid engaging in risky vices such as illegal drug use, which not only puts their health but also their lives and communities at risk. As part of his commitment to improve access to quality health care services nationwide, Go had primarily authored and sponsored the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, which became Republic Act (RA) 11463. RA 11463 aims to give poor and indigent patients convenient access to medical assistance programs offered by relevant agencies. To date, there are 153 Malasakit Centers that have helped millions of Filipinos across the country. The Malasakit Center in Caloocan City is located at the Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital. Go is also pushing for the establishment of Super Health Centers (SHCs) across the country to make health services more accessible to Filipinos, especially in far-flung communities. Citing that 307 SHCs are funded under the 2022 national budget, he said these centers will offer basic health services, such as database management, outpatient, birthing, isolation, diagnostic (laboratory: X-ray, ultrasound), pharmacy, and ambulatory surgical unit. Other available services are eye, ear, nose and throat service; oncology centers; physical therapy and rehabilitation center; and telemedicine, where remote diagnosis and treatment of patients will be done. In Caloocan City, there will be an SHC to be strategically located in Barangay Deparo. During their visit, Go and his team conducted a distribution activity at the Caloocan High School. They handed out grocery packs, vitamins, masks, shirts and meals to 960 barangay frontliners, and gave select individuals umbrellas, new pairs of shoes, watches, cellular phones and bicycles. Others also received balls for basketball and volleyball to promote sports in the community. Moreover, representatives from the Department of Social Welfare and Development extended separate financial assistance to qualified beneficiaries. During the activity, Go also explained the reason for his support for the postponement of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE). President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. recently signed RA 11935, which reset the BSKE from December 5 this year to the last Monday of October 2023. The elections will then be conducted every three years thereafter. To further promote the welfare of barangay officials, Go filed Senate Bill (SB) 197 which would provide for a Magna Carta for Barangay. He said barangay officials should get comparable benefits to those provided to other government employees in recognition of their efforts to serve their constituents. The senator also filed SB 427 which would mandate provision of allowances and incentives to barangay health workers. If the measure is passed into law, a monthly allowance will be provided to all barangay health workers. These workers will also be entitled to security of tenure and other benefits and privileges. The senator thanked local authorities for ensuring that their constituents are not left behind in the path toward recovery. Also serving as vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, Go was instrumental in the construction of multipurpose buildings in Caloocan City. Prior to the activity, Go dropped by the Bulgar Medical Mission and personally provided separate assistance to beneficiaries there. He also then provided aid to other indigent residents in Caloocan on the same day.