Press Release
September 21, 2019

Bong Go cites President Duterte as inspiration for "Malasakit", thanks Filipino doctors for their service

During the Strategic Planning Workshop and Leadership Meeting of the Pediatric Oncology Leaders in the Asia Pacific Region, Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go thanked the doctors who have always heeded the call to serve the sick, most especially the poor and indigent Filipino children.

Attended by international delegates from all over the Asia Pacific region and held in Davao City on September 20, the Senator also emphasized the role of doctors in treating one of the country's top killer disease- cancer, specifically mentioning pediatric oncologists whose patients are close to the senator's heart.

In his speech, Go said that "Through the efforts of Filipino doctors and caregivers, I have witnessed how committed and focused care---regardless of the capacity to pay---resulted in a marked improvement in the survival rate and quality of life of children with cancer."

"Truly, along with effective use of medicine, the human component of cancer management plays a vital role in the success of cancer treatment. I, therefore, thank our doctors and caregivers for being hardworking, reliable and compassionate lifesavers," he added.

Go also highlighted his mentor and role model, President Rodrigo Duterte, who has always put into action the true meaning of "malasakit."

"Marami akong natutunan kay Pangulong Duterte kung paano magmalasakit. Nakita ko kay Pangulong Duterte kung paano magmalasakit sa Pilipino," he gratefully said.

The organizers of the event, House of Hope, is one of the benefactors of the President's love and care for Filipino children who have cancer.

"Napakaimportante kay Pangulong Duterte, cancer patients have always been a priority of the president. Way back 2011, in fact, he donated his own house during that time, just to house the cancer patients," Go cited referring to the house of President Duterte inside Margarita Village in Lanang which the president donated to the organization.

Today, the House of Hope run by the Davao Children's Cancer Fund, Inc., is now permanently housed in that home donated by the former mayor. Every year, the President makes it a tradition to visit the children with cancer patients during Christmas, his birthday and Valentine's Day. The President also continues his commitment to these children with cancer by helping raise funds for the organization.

Go, following his mentor's footsteps, saw these actions and resulted in paying it forward. Go said during the occasion that he had many times visited children cancer patients and assisted them by "helping them access prompt medical care," and coordinated with their families, doctors and health professionals in the field.

On his birthday last year, he was also able to visit children canter patients at the Philippine Children's Medical Center in Quezon City.

"It always inspires and amazes me to see these children so full of life and full of HOPE despite of all the difficulties that they are going through. Their joy gives me courage and strength�that is why I am also full of HOPE that we can pave way for a future with these kids," Go said.

Also, long before he became a senator, Go, as the then Mayor Duterte's long-time aide, had seen harsh realities in Davao City. The plight of Filipinos who were not Davaoeños but continued to line up at Davao City Hall in the hope of getting financial medical assistance had been one of the Senator's inspirations in establishing Malasakit Centers nationwide.

"Maraming mga kababayan natin ang pupumunta sa Davao, kahit hindi sila taga-Davao. Sabi ng COA, 'bawal tumulong kung pera ng Davao.' Ang sabi sakin ng Presidente, mayor at that time, 'kung hindi natin sila tutulungan, 'di na ako uupo dito sa city hall bukas'," Go explained emphasizing that when Duterte became president, that was when he proposed the Malasakit Center initiative.

"Noong president po siya, dun ko po naisipan 'tong Malasakit Center. It's a one-stop shop that houses the PhilHealth, DOH, DSWD and PCSO. Under one room, all government assistance will be given in one form. They don't have to go around the city just to seek for help because pera po nila 'yan, binabalik lang ito sa kanila," Go said.

The senator also mentioned legislative measures he filed in the Senate, such as the Malasakit Center Act of 2019 that aims to institutionalize the Malasakit Center and the Advanced Nursing Education Act of 2019 which will improve nursing education and profession.

As the chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Go also mentioned that he is working closely with the Department of Health to improve bed capacity and medical equipment of public hospitals, and to provide additional training for healthcare professionals.

With this, the Senator said that his personal goal is to put up cancer treatment and research centers in the Philippines "so that we can do our own research, treat our patients locally and have world-class cancer doctors here in our country."

Go also expressed his elation when the World Health Organization chose the Philippines as a focus country for pediatric oncology and assured that he will work harder to achieve target goals and exert more efforts for international cooperation.

"I understand the role of Davao City in serving as model of care for the country and other countries in the Asia Pacific region who are in similar circumstances. Rest assured that we will work even harder to achieve our goals and cooperate internationally with all of you as our partners," Go said.

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