Bong Go’s Malasakit Center initiative gives hope to leukemia patient and father

Bong Go’s Malasakit Center initiative gives hope to leukemia patient and father

THE Malasakit Center initiated by Senator Christopher “Bong” Go continues to play a crucial role in providing medical assistance to underprivileged Filipino families. A poignant narrative comes from James Santiago, a thirty-year-old resident of Barangay Caticlan in Malay, Aklan, whose daughter, Quianna Santiago, has been battling leukemia.

In a heartfelt account, James expressed the gravity of the situation faced by his family.

“Kung wala po ‘yung Malasakit Center, hindi ko po mapapatuloy ‘yung pagpapagamot sa anak ko. Baka po lumala pa po ‘yung sakit niya,” he stated. His words underscore the dire circumstances his family was in before they received assistance from the Malasakit Center.

Five-year-old Quianna’s health ordeal began subtly with paleness and unexplained bruises, leading to a devastating diagnosis at a hospital in Roxas City in Capiz. The family, already strained financially, was on the brink of despair.

James recounted, “Humingi po kami ng tulong sa mga social welfare, kasi naubos na po ‘yung ipon namin. Hindi na po namin kaya ‘yung pagpapagamot sa kanya.”

At this critical juncture, the Malasakit Center at the Western Visayas Medical Center in Iloilo City intervened, providing a lifeline for Quianna’s dialysis and chemotherapy treatments.

The Malasakit Center, a collaborative effort among various government agencies, has been pivotal in easing the burden of medical expenses for countless Filipinos. The centers bring together representatives from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), aiming to support underprivileged patients in covering their hospital costs and reducing it to the least possible amount.

Go is the principal author and sponsor of Republic Act No. 11463, or the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, which institutionalized the Malasakit Centers program. Currently, 159 Malasakit Centers are operational nationwide, poised to assist with patients’ medical expenses. The DOH reports that the Malasakit Center program has already provided aid to around ten million Filipinos.

James and Quianna’s story is a testament to the center’s significant impact. Expressing profound gratitude, the father said, “Sa Panginoon po, marami pong salamat dahil ginabayan niya si Senator Bong Go, ‘yung Malasakit (Centers) para matulungan kami.”

Go reassured Filipinos of the unwavering support provided by these Malasakit centers as he continues to monitor its implementation as part of his oversight functions as Chair of the Senate Health Committee.

According to Go, Malasakit Centers represent hope, ensuring no Filipino is left behind in accessing necessary medical care. As families like the Santiagos navigate their most challenging times, the Malasakit Centers’ support illuminate their path to recovery and resilience.

“Lapitan n’yo lang po ang Malasakit Center. Para po ‘yan sa Pilipino,” Go stated, adding: “tutulong ako sa abot ng aking makakaya. ‘Yan po ang pwede kong ialay sa Pilipino. Ang aking serbisyo at pagmamalasakit po sa inyo.”

Aside from Malasakit Centers, Go also principally sponsored and is one of the authors of the Republic Act No. 11959, also known as the Regional Specialty Centers Act, which was signed into law on August 24. The law mandates the establishment of specialty centers within existing DOH regional hospitals which will provide specialized healthcare to all regions.

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