SEN. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go attended the virtual launch of the country’s 79th Malasakit Center on Thursday at the Laguna Medical Center in Santa Cruz, Laguna.
The Malasakit Center is the 40th in Luzon and sixth in Calabarzon Region (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon)
“This is for all Filipinos especially the poor and some of the vulnerable sectors that need help for medication. They’re the priority when it comes to government service,” Go said.
Malasakit Centers are one-stop shops that host concerned government agencies with programs that provide financial and medical assistance to Filipino patients, particularly the poor and indigent.
These agencies are the Department of Health (DoH), Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
With the enactment of Republic Act 11463, or the “Malasakit Center Act of 2019,” all hospitals run by the DoH all over the country and the Philippine General Hospital in Manila are mandated to establish their own Malasakit Centers.
Hospitals run by local government units and other public hospitals may also establish their own Malasakit Centers provided they meet a standard set of criteria and guarantee the availability of funds for the operation of their centers, including maintenance, personnel and staff training, among others.
“Go to the Malasakit Centers for your health care needs. This is your money. We are returning it to you by means of fast, proper and reliable service,” Go said.
In his speech, the senator announced the new face-mask distribution program of the government to strengthen the mask-wearing policy in the country amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
“We launched the free mask [program] for the poor. We will prioritize the poor because they’re the vulnerable. They go out to the street because they need to work. We required them to wear masks, so it is but right to provide free masks to those who cannot afford to buy their own,” Go said.
Among the vulnerable sectors to be prioritized by the mask distribution program are households with senior citizens, pregnant women, persons with special health conditions and Social Amelioration Program and Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries.
The senator assured that the government is working hard to overcome the ongoing health crisis as he shared news on the development of a Covid-19 vaccine in Russia, with Moscow expressing its intent to supply the Philippines.
“Russian Ambassador Khovaev has offered three things. First, clinical trials will be conducted here in the Philippines. They will supply us the vaccine against Covid-19. And third, they’re planning to set up local manufacturing here in our country,” he confirmed in a previous statement.
Go said he and President Rodrigo Duterte would prioritize the poor to avail of the vaccine.
Meanwhile, he expressed his dismay over controversies surrounding PhilHealth and vowed to go after those responsible for alleged widespread corruption in the government-run health insurance agency.