Top local government officials last week led the launching of the Malasakit Center at the Eastern Bicol Medical Center, with Sen. Bong Go, TGP Partylist Rep. Bong Teves Jr., and Presidential Assistant for Visayas Michael Diño virtually attending the ceremony.
The senator, who chairs the Senate health committee, is the primary author of Republic Act 11463 or the Malasakit Centers Act along with Rep. Teves and Catanduanes Congressman Hector Sanchez, who also filed the counterpart bill in the House of Representatives as principal authors.
As early as August 2019, Teves had asked Sen. Go to help establish a Malasakit Center at EBMC, saying that it would be vital in helping poor and indigent constituents of Catanduanes to have access to fast, reliable and affordable health care they rightfully deserve.
The EBMC Malasakit Center is the 133rd established in the entire country since the measure was enacted by the 18th Congress and signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in December 2019.
It is a one-stop shop manned by personnel of four government agencies which are frequently the source of assistance for indigents like the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).
“Ang Malasakit Center ay sarong dakulang tuwang para mapadari asin mapakaskas an pag proseso kan mga asistensiya na para sa mga nangangaipo uya sa Catanduanes,” Cong. Sanchez said.
“Through this facility, more Catandunganons will benefit from our Medical Assistance to Indigent Patients (MAIP) funding, with nearly P30 million were extended to the different district hospitals in Catanduanes and hospitals in the Bicol and National Capital Region in 2020,” Cong. Sanchez disclosed, adding that this year, another P20 million has been downloaded for the benefit of the Catandunganons.
Also present during the Aug. 2, 2021 ceremony were DSWD Assistant Secretary Rudy Encabo, Gov. Joseph Cua, municipal mayors, and EBMC staff headed by Chief of Hospital II Dr. Vietrez Abella.
Sen. Go also raffled off 10 bicycles, a computer tablet and other prizes as his support for the provincial hospital’s frontliners.
Meanwhile, during his courtesy call on Gov. Cua at the Capitol, Asst. Sec. Encabo and officials of the DSWD regional office discussed programs being implemented by the department in Catanduanes, including the pay-out for the remaining 334 beneficiaries out of a total 5,000 under the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).
The chief executive asked the DSWD to set up its own warehouse for prepositioned relief goods in Catanduanes especially with the coming typhoon season.
Encabo and the regional staff are now looking into possible sites for an appropriate temporary warehouse.