Press Release
November 16, 2019

Bong Go gives aid to fire victims in CDO and Gingoog, Misamis Oriental; calls for expanded cheaper medicines list

Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go sympathized and assisted victims of three separate fire incidents in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Gingoog in Misamis Oriental on Saturday, November 16, where a total of 85 families were affected and are currently staying in evacuation areas.

Aside from providing financial and relief assistance, Go was also joined by concerned government agencies during the visit to provide additional aid to the victims.

"Ako ay may dalang financial assistance para sa inyo, para kahit papaano ay maibsan n'yo ang sakunang naranasan ninyo. Nais ko lang po mag iwan ng ngiti sa oras ng inyong pagdadalamhati. Iba naman po yung tulong na galing naman sa iba't ibang ahensya ng gobyerno na pinakiusapan natin na tumulong rin dito," he said.

Go said that he has coordinated with the National Housing Authority (NHA) regarding possible relocation sites for those who lost their dwellings and to provide housing materials to those who need to rebuild or repair their houses. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is also providing livelihood assistance to eligible victims.

"Nakipag-ugnayan na po ako sa National Housing Authority para sa relocation sites ng mga nasunugan at housing materials para sa inyo. Magbibigay din po ng livelihood assistance ang Department of Trade and Industry para sa inyong hanapbuhay," said Go.

As for jobs seekers, Go said that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is ready to assist them. The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will also provide scholarships to those who want to study.

"Para sa mga nais magtrabaho, nariyan ang DOLE para sa inyo. Ang CHED naman ay magbibigay ng scholarship para sa mga nais mag-aral. Tulung-tulong ang mga ahensya ng gobyerno para makatulong sa inyo."

Go also told students affected by the fire incidents that he will help replace their lost uniforms, books and school supplies so their schooling will not be disrupted.

The senator also encouraged injured victims or those needing medical attention to avail of government medical assistance from any Malasakit Center, a one-stop shop office hosting concerned government agencies that provide medical financial assistance to those in need.

"Sa mga nasaktan o may malalang karamdaman, pumunta lamang po kayo sa malapit na Malasakit Center sa inyo. Pera po ninyo iyon. Ibinabalik lamang po sa inyo," Go urged. "Kung kailangan niyong magpa-opera, ako na po ang bahalang magdala sa inyo sa Davao kung kailangan," he added.

Currently, there are two operational Malasakit Centers in Cagayan de Oro City---one in Northern Mindanao Medical Center which was opened in October last year; and another in JR Borja General Hospital launched on October 9 this year.

The senator's desire to institutionalize the centers has also made significant strides in the legislative process. Senate Bill No. 1076, or the Malasakit Center Act of 2019, which seeks to institutionalize the establishment of Malasakit Centers in all 73 hospitals run by the Department of Health (DOH), was recently approved on the third and final reading in the Senate on November 11. It has also been approved on second reading in the House of Representatives on November 14 and is expected to be tackled for third and final reading next week.

Meanwhile, during an ambush interview, Go was asked if it is possible to lower the price of medications, such as insulin in the country given the rising number of Filipinos with diabetes.

The senator responded, saying that he supports the proposed expansion of the Maximum Drug Retail Prices (MDRP) list to ensure that cheaper medicines will be more available to the public.

"Sa Senado, pinag-uusapan ang pag-expand ng Maximum Drug Retail Price by virtue of the Cheaper Medicines Act of 2002. Sa tulong nito, mas mapapamura ang mga gamot para sa mga Pilipino. Suportado ko ito," said Go.

Go, who also chairs the Senate Committee on Health, has earlier expressed his support for the expansion of the MDRP during a regular session in the Senate where he reiterated that "healthcare is a right, not a commodity."

Go added during his manifestation of support that he will "suggest to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte the inclusion of all essential medicines in the proposed list of expanded MDRP and for its immediate release to complement the Universal Health Care Law."

Pursuant to the Cheaper Medicines Act, the Department of Health (DOH) released in September an updated list of medicines for MDRP inclusion to be recommended to the Office of the President.

The list includes drugs addressing leading diseases in the country such as hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic lung diseases, neonatal diseases, and major cancers. It also covers expensive treatments for chronic renal disease, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

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