Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong’ Go today launched the ninth Malasakit Center at the Southern Philippines Medical Center here in the city.

Go said he aims to enhance and strengthen government health services in order to serve more Filipinos in need by establishing more Malasakit Centers nationwide.

“Sa ngayon po, ito ‘yung tinututukan ko sa Office of the President, paigtingin o palakasin ‘yung programa natin sa health. Of course ‘yung Department of Health (DoH) natin may sarili naman silang programa,” he said.

(For now, my focus in the Office of the President is to strengthen the health program. Of course the DoH also has its own programs.)

Go has been instrumental in putting up Malasakit Centers throughout the country. There are currently nine cities with existing Centers: Cebu, Tacloban, Iloilo, Bacolod, Puerto Princesa, Philippine General Hospital (PGH) in Manila, Maasin, Dumaguete, and Davao.

He gave assurance that all Filipinos are qualified to avail themselves of medical health assistance through the Malasakit Center.

“Priority natin ‘yung mga indigent patients natin. Wala nang ibang kailangan. Basta ikaw po ay Pilipino pwede ka mag-avail, wala nang kahit anong requirements basta Pilipino,” he said.

(Our priority are the indigent patients. Anyone can avail themselves of medical assistance. The only qualification is that you are a Filipino.)

Go was thankful to Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte for agreeing to the partnership with the city’s Kalinga ng Bayan — a one-stop-shop, offering medical assistance to the Dabawenyos.

He further explained that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte only expanded the program to all the Filipinos.

In an ambush interview, Go said government allotted enough funds for the Malasakit Center in Davao City to cater to the medical needs of fellow Mindanaoans through the Pharmacy fund and the “Kalinga” fund.

The re-launching of the Malasakit Center strengthened the then Pharmacy fund and “Kalinga” fund that is present in the City.

“So kung gamot ang kailangan, doon po charge sa pharmacy fund. Kung bill naman, dito sa kalinga fund. Malasakit Center ang magtuturo kung saan icha-charge ‘yung kailangan na tulong hinihingi,” he said.

(If medicine is needed, it could be charged from the pharmacy fund. If it is bill related, it could be charged from the Kalinga fund. The Malasakit Center will help in distributing your hospital and medicine bills accordingly.)

Go assured the public that once hospitals submit their liquidation, the funds will be replenished for the continuous service of the Malasakit Centers.

He also added that ambulance desks will be put up to cater to far-flung areas in the region and a fast lane prioritizing the senior citizens and Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) will also be available in the Malasakit Center.

The Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop program of President Duterte to hasten the delivery of medical services and give poor patients access to free medicine.

Under the program, patients are assisted in availing themselves of the services and financial assistance provided by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), the Philippine Amusement and Games Corporation (PAGCOR), Department of Health (DoH), and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Pooled together, the assistance can push the patient’s medical bill, including medicines, to the lowest possible amount.

Go said he is eyeing the establishment of more Malasakit Centers in other parts of the country. In Luzon, he said his office is exploring the possibility of establishing centers in Bulacan, Pampanga, and Laguna, among others.

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