SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, has remained steadfast in bringing essential public health services closer to more Filipinos through the establishment of Super Health Center.
In his speech during the site inspection of a Super Health Center in Brgy. Dahican, Mati City, Davao Oriental, on Saturday, November 18, Go highlighted the trust people have placed in him and his commitment to work tirelessly for Filipinos.
“Unang una, ‘wag kayong magpasalamat sa amin… kami ang dapat na magpasalamat sa inyong lahat dahil binigyan nyo kami ng pagkakataon na makapagserbisyo sa inyong lahat,” he said.
Go also underscored his dedication to bridging the gap between healthcare and the people through Super Health Centers, thus alleviating the difficulty of extensive travel to access primary health services.
“Ipagpatuloy natin na ilapit ang serbisyong medikal sa ating mga kababayang mahihirap na walang matakbuhan kundi ang mga government health facilities. Para sa mga mahihirap nating kababayan, napakaimportante po nito dahil iyan po ang kanilang lalapitan po talaga. The more we should support it, the more na mag-invest po tayo sa ating healthcare system,” Go said.
“Ilapit po natin ang serbisyong nararapat para sa kanila. Huwag po natin silang pahirapan. Marami po sa ating kababayan sa iba’t ibang sulok ng Pilipinas na wala silang sariling health center. Kaya importante na mailapit natin ang serbisyong medikal mula gobyerno sa mga taong nangangailangan nito,” he stressed.
Super Health Centers are strategically designed to place emphasis on delivering primary care, offering consultations, and enhancing the early detection of diseases in the grassroots. They aim to bolster the healthcare sector throughout the nation, with a particular emphasis on rural communities.
Super Health Centers offer basic health services, including database management, out-patient, birthing, isolation, diagnostic (laboratory: x-ray, ultrasound), pharmacy, and ambulatory surgical unit.
Other available services in Super Health Centers are eye, ear, nose, and throat (EENT) service; oncology centers; physical therapy and rehabilitation centers; and telemedicine.
Through the collaborative efforts of fellow lawmakers, local government units (LGUs), and the Department of Health (DOH), sufficient funds were allocated for 307 Super Health Centers nationwide in 2022 and 322 in 2023.
DOH, the lead implementing agency, is tasked with identifying strategic areas for construction. There are a total of 12 Super Health Centers funded for construction in the whole of Davao Oriental.
Go also made it a point to acknowledge the presence and contributions of local officials, national agency representatives, and uniformed personnel. He expressed his gratitude to Governor Niño Sotero Uy and Congressman Cheeno Almario for their leadership in the province. The senator also recognized the efforts of Mayor Michelle Rabat and Vice Mayor Lorenzo Rabat in local governance, alongside councilors, for their commitment to the community.
Furthermore, Go extended his appreciation to barangay officials, health workers, and frontliners who are the backbone of local health initiatives. From the national agencies, he acknowledged DOH Assistant Regional Director Gerna Manatad and Dr. Ben Hur Catbagan, Jr., the City Health Officer, for their crucial roles in health management and policy.
He also thanked representatives from the Philippine National Police for their indispensable service in maintaining peace and security in the region.
Go advised individuals seeking medical assistance to visit the Malasakit Center at Davao Oriental Provincial Medical Center in Mati City or any of the 159 Malasakit Centers nationwide.
Under Republic Act 11463, a law principally authored and sponsored by Go, the Malasakit Centers program brings all relevant agencies under one roof, including DOH, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), so that indigent patients can conveniently access medical assistance programs to cover their hospital-related expenses.
DOH reported that the Malasakit Center program has already benefitted more than ten million Filipinos as of October 2023.
“Sa mga pasyente, lapitan niyo lang ang Malasakit Center dahil para ‘to sa inyo. Kung may hospital bill kayo, nandiyan ang mga ahensya ng gobyerno na tutulong para mabayaran ito,” said Go.
Go also highlighted RA 11959, also known as the Regional Specialty Centers Act, which he principally sponsored and is one of the authors in the Senate. The Regional Specialty Centers Act plays a pivotal role in the healthcare legislative agenda of the Marcos administration, as detailed in the Philippine Development Plan 2023 to 2028. The said law mandates the establishment of Regional Specialty Centers within existing DOH regional hospitals.
Go, vice chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, also supported various projects in the province aimed at contributing to its progress. These initiatives included the rehabilitation of roads in several barangays, installation of solar LED lights along the National Road in Brgy. Bagumbayan, construction of potable water systems in Brgy. Bagumbayan, establishment of a flood mitigation structure along Sumlog River, and the construction of the IP Community Learning Center in Brgy. Don Mariano.
On that day, Go also witnessed the turnover of motorboat engines to the local fisherfolk of Mati City donated by the Manila Metro Premier PH Eagles Club.
He was also present at the groundbreaking of the Super Health Center in the town of Caraga. Additionally, he also inspected the town’s Activity Center, a project that he had advocated for previously. He also attended the Farmers Forum in Caraga as well, where he assisted 2,500 workers in the agricultural sector.