In a significant development for healthcare access in the country, Senator Bong Go, father of Malasakit Centers program, was invited to attend the inauguration of the 164th Malasakit Center at SOCCSKSARGEN General Hospital in Surallah, South Cotabato recently.

This event marked another milestone in a nationwide effort to streamline medical assistance especially for underprivileged Filipinos. 

Other Malasakit Centers nearby are located at the South Cotabato Provincial Hospital in Koronadal City and Dr. Jorge P. Royeca Hospital in General Santos City.

“One-stop shop po ito, para po ito sa Pilipino.”

“Congratulations po sa ating SOCCSKSARGEN General Hospital sa inyong new Malasakit Center. Ito na po ‘yung 164th na Malasakit Center sa buong Pilipinas. 43 na po sa Mindanao, 91 sa Luzon, 30 po sa Visayas. One-stop shop po ito, para po ito sa Pilipino,” Go said.

The Malasakit Centers program, initiated by the legislator in 2018, was designed to reduce the burden on patients by consolidating the medical assistance programs of various government agencies under one roof.

 These include the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

The program was institutionalized through Republic Act No. 11463 or the Malasakit Centers Act which the lawmaker principally sponsored and authored in 2019. 

The inspiration behind the Malasakit Centers stemmed from the senator’s close observations of the hardships faced by impoverished sectors when availing themselves of needed government assistance for medical services.

“Ang mahirap, huwag nang mas pahirapan pa… Sa Malasakit Center, hindi niyo na kailangang pumila o umikot pa sa iba’t ibang opisina para humingi ng tulong pampagamot. Nasa isang kwarto na sa loob mismo ng hospital ang apat na ahensya na tutulong sa inyo. Lapitan niyo lang, para sa bawat Pilipino ‘yan lalo na sa mga poor at indigent patients,” he explained.

Since its inception, the program has successfully aided over ten million Filipinos, a testament to its wide-reaching impact nationwide. 

“The establishment of the 164th center in South Cotabato is a continuation of the government’s effort, promising easier access to medical assistance for the residents of South Cotabato and the rest of Mindanao,” Go added.

The launch was well-received by the community, with local officials, including Congressman Peter Miguel, Vice Governor Arthur “Dodo” Pingoy, Mayor Pedro Matinong Jr., and Vice Mayor Antonio Bendita, among others, and hospital personnel, led by Medical Center Chief Dr. Ceril Magbanua-Borromeo, expressing their gratitude for enhancing the healthcare access in the region.

In support of the local medical community, he gave away rice packs to hospital workers and patients and grocery packs to barangay health workers in attendance. 

Go also provided select recipients with shirts, bicycles, shoes, and balls for basketball and volleyball.

Meanwhile, some patients received financial assistance from the government.

“Unahin po ‘yung mga mahihirap nating kababayan. Yung mga helpless, mga hopeless nating kababayan na walang ibang matakbuhan kung hindi tayo po dito na nasa gobyerno. Tulungan po natin sila,” he urged.

Go reiterated his commitment to the health and well-being of all Filipinos, stating, “Healthcare is a right, not a privilege. This is why we continue to push for programs and projects to bring health services closer to the people.”

Furthermore, through the combined efforts of Go, fellow lawmakers, the DOH, and local government units, appropriate funding was secured to establish more than 700 Super Health Centers nationwide, including seven in the province with one in Surallah which he briefly inspected during his visit. He also attended the inauguration of a Super Health Center in Banga town the day.

“It will help decongest the hospitals and bring needed medical services closer to communities.”

“Ano po ang Super Health Center? It’s a medium type of a polyclinic. Pwede po d’yan ‘yung panganganak, dental, laboratory, x-ray, d’yan na po ‘yung primary care ng Universal Health Care, d’yan na po ‘yung Konsulta ng PhilHealth dahil lahat naman po ng Pilipino ay miyembro po ng PhilHealth. It will help decongest the hospitals and bring needed medical services closer to communities,” he shared.

Super Health Centers are designed to focus on primary care, consultation, and early detection, further strengthening the healthcare sector in the country, especially in grassroots communities. Free consultations would be handled by municipal health offices, local government units, and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation through its Konsulta program.

“Bilang chairperson ng Committee on Health sa Senado, full support po ako sa ating healthcare system. The more we should invest in health. Isa rin po yan sa advocacy ni Governor Jun Tamayo — ang health, para makatulong po sa mga kababayan natin. Salamat sa mga lokal na opisyal sa inyong mga serbisyo sa ating mga kababayan,” Go concluded.



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