Press Release
September 13, 2019

42nd Malasakit Center opens in Pagadian City

Pagadian City - Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go on Friday, September 13, joined in the launching of the Malasakit Center at the Zamboanga del Sur Medical Center in Pagadian City, ensuring easier access to better healthcare services to Zambosurians and residents of nearby provinces.

It is the 42nd in the country, eleventh in Mindanao and the fourth Malasakit Center in the Zamboanga Peninsula where similar centers are also located in the cities of Zamboanga, Dapitan and Dipolog.

The launch was led by Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV). OPAV was a partner of the Office of the Special Assistant to the President in establishing earlier Malasakit Centers when Go was still with the executive branch.

In his message, Go said that the Duterte administration hopes to launch more Malasakit Centers nationwide in the upcoming months, providing millions of Filipinos better access to government medical and financial assistance.

"Sa mga darating na buwan, umaasa po tayo na makapaglunsad pa ng karagdagang Malasakit Centers sa buong bansa. Sa inyong suporta, naniniwala po akong hindi malabo na makamit natin ang layuning ito," Go said.

Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop where all representatives of different government agencies, such as the Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), PhilHealth and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) are all gathered under one roof.

In these centers, applicants seeking financial assistance for their medical concerns need to fill out one form only and need not have to queue up in different government offices. The centers also have special express lanes for senior citizens and persons with disabilities.

In his earlier pronouncements, Go stressed that the Malasakit Center initiative is just one of the ways of the government to give back the taxpayers' money to the Filipinos.

"Pera po ninyo ito ibinabalik lang sa inyo sa pamamagitan ng mabilis, maayos at maaasahang serbisyong may malasakit para sa bawat Pilipino," Go said.

In an ambush interview, Go said that he has filed Malasakit Center Act of 2019 (Senate Bill No. 199) to institutionalize these centers in the country's healthcare system. This will also pave the way for the establishment of Malasakit Centers in all DOH-run hospitals.

"Yes, I have filed a bill na i-institutionalize na ang Malasakit Center na ang layunin ay makatulong sa tao. Sa Malasakit Center, isang kwarto na lahat ng ahensya ng gobyerno, sama-sama ang DOH, DSWD, Philhealth, PCSO," Go said.

Go warns Bilibid drug lords: "Cease your illegal activities or go straight to the morgue"

Meanwhile, asked about the "hospital pass for sale" controversy, Go warned drug lords in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) to stop their illegal practices, or else they will suffer dire consequences.

"Imbes na dextrose, iba na ang ilalagay sa kanila para dumiretso na sa morgue," Go cautioned.

The senator's sentiments come after revelations during a Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearing on Thursday, September 12, that drug lords are taking advantage of the "hospital pass for sale" scheme to escape jail congestion and conduct their drug deals inside the NBP Hospital.

During the hearing, the senator revealed that some high-profile prisoners are bribing officials of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) in order to be admitted and confined at the national penitentiary hospital where they continue their criminal activities.

"We have received reports that some inmates were moved into the New Bilibid Prison Hospital by faking their illness and buying the so-called 'hospital referral pass' from BuCor employees. Nagpapanggap na may sakit para ma-admit sa ospital tapos doon na nagaganap ang illegal drug trading," Go said during the public hearing on the issue.

Go also asserted that justice must be served in regard to these corruption scandals and anomalies faced by the country's correctional facilities.

"Dapat mayroon managot sa mga nadiskubreng katiwalian at iligal na gawain sa loob ng NBP. Magpapatuloy din ang suspension sa mga opisyal na mapapatunayang sangkot tulad ng halos 30 opisyal na sinuspende na," Go said.

The senator added that even the doctors and other staff of the NBP Hospital will face the chopping block should they be found to be involved in the corruption schemes.

"Maging ang mga doktor at iba pang hospital staff sa NBP na mapapatunayang sangkot ay hindi palalampasin sa isinasagawang paglilinis ng pamahalaan," Go said.

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