The 16th and 17th Malasakit Centers in the country were opened on November 19, 2018, at the Cotabato Regional Medical Hospital in Cotabato City and at the Sultan Kudarat Provincial Hospital in Isulan town.
Former Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go witnessed the unveiling of the markers near the entrance of the two centers. The launching ceremonies were led by Presidential Adviser to the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino and key officials from the Department of Health. They were also joined by representatives from the respective local government units and other concerned national agencies.
The Malasakit Center is a ‘one stop shop’ where indigent patients can ask for financial assistance from various government agencies, such as the Department of Health, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philhealth, PAGCOR, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
“The Malasakit Center intends to emulate the spirit of Bayanihan by extending our hands to the least among us,” Go said in his speech during the event. Go, a candidate for senator in the 2019 elections, headed the project when he was still working as Special Assistant to the President.
“One goal of the Malasakit Center is to lessen the efforts of our loved ones in going from one government agency to another to get financial assistance,” Go added. “The number of documents that need to be processed will also be lessened. Senior citizens and persons with disabilities are given priority in the center.”
Before going to Isulan, Go dropped by Cotabato City to open another Malasakit Center at the Cancer Center Building of Cotabato Regional and Medical Hospital. The Malasakit Center in Isulan is in the Out-Patient Building at the back of the main building of the provincial hospital.
Go said that the Malasakit Center started in Davao City. The Southern Philippines Medical Center in the city used to have an office that streamlined medical financial aids from government agencies. The office was also turned into a Malasakit Center last September.
More Malasakit Centers will reportedly be opened all over the country in the coming months. If put into law, Go said that he aims to put at least one Malasakit Center in each province.
“Ito ay ang patuloy kong ipaglalaban kung mahalal sa Senado. Ang mapadali at mapa-simple ang proseso ng pag-avail ng medical assistance para sa lahat ng Pilipino. Hindi dapat maging pasakit sa may sakit ang pagkuha ng tulong mula sa gobyerno,” he said.
Go has been instrumental in pushing for the Malasakit Centers to make quality healthcare more accessible to Filipinos. There are currently seventeen (17) cities with existing Centers: Cebu, Tacloban, Iloilo, Bacolod, Puerto Princesa, Philippine General Hospital (PGH) in Manila, Maasin, Dumaguete, Davao, Pampanga, Tagbilaran, Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga, Legazpi, and most recently launched, in Isulan and Cotabato city.
“Priority natin ‘yung mga indigent patients natin pero basta ikaw po ay Pilipino pwede ka mag-avail. Sa Malasakit center, mura o libreng pagamot at medisina makukuha ng mga pasyente,” he added.
Aside from the Malasakit Center, Bong Go said he will also fight for the increase in bed capacity of government hospitals, increase of salaries of nurses, and increase of benefits for barangay health workers.
“Napaka-importanteng matutukan ang kalusugan ng bawat Pilipino. Hindi ako titigil sa pagtulong, bisyo ko na ang magserbisyo,” Go reiterated adding, that he won’t get tired of doing such to be able to help the poor families especially those in need of medical attention. ###