SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, personally attended the groundbreaking ceremony of a Super Health Center in Caraga, Davao Oriental on Saturday, November 18.
The groundbreaking ceremony was also attended by Mayor Ronie Osnan and Vice Mayor Melody Anne Benitez, among others, all of whom expressed gratitude for the forthcoming Super Health Center that promises to be a lifeline for the community.
In his speech, Go highlighted the role Super Health Centers play in advancing the government’s commitment to providing quality healthcare to all Filipinos.
He also conveyed that establishing more health facilities can significantly bolster healthcare accessibility, especially in underserved areas.
“Lahat ng tao sa mundo ay may bisyo. Ang bisyo ng doctor gamutin ang mga pasyente ‘di ba? Ang mga BHW (Barangay Health Worker) tutulungan ang mga pasyente rin. Ang mga pulis, ang bisyo ng pulis hulihin ang mga kriminal. Ako mayroon rin akong bisyo. Ang aking bisyo ay magserbisyo sa mamamayan. Iyan ang aking bisyo,” Go said.
The senator then underscored the significance of Super Health Centers in bridging the gap between the government and its people, emphasizing its primary functions, including early disease detection and hospital decongestion, as integral to ensuring timely and effective healthcare services.
“Ang kinaganda sa Super Health Center, alam ng DOH yan (ay) puwede niyo pang i-expand. Puwede niyong palagyan ng dialysis machine. Ako as chairman sa Committee on Health, kapag natapos ito willing akong tumulong na i-expand pa ang inyong Super Health Center. Malaking tulong ito para hindi na kailangan pa na bumyahe sa Mati o Davao ang pasyente,” expressed Go.
“Alagaan niyo ang inyong Super Health Center. Ang kagandahan nito, it will help decongest the hospital. Hindi na (sana) mapupuno (ang mga hospitals). Puwede dito ang buntis, pwede nang manganak dito at pwede na ang Konsulta package ng PhilHealth,” he added.
With the support of the Department of Health (DOH), local government units (LGUs), and fellow lawmakers, Go helped secure sufficient funds in the 2022 and 2023 national budgets for the construction of more than 600 Super Health Centers across the country.
Aside from Caraga, Super Health Centers in the province were funded in Lupon, Manay, Mati City, Banging, Boston, Calapagan, Dahican, San Isidro, and Taragona.
Two more centers are funded in Cateel.
Super Health Centers will offer database management, outpatient, birthing, isolation, diagnostic (laboratory: X-ray, ultrasound), pharmacy, and ambulatory surgical unit. Other available services are eye, ear, nose, and throat (EENT) service; oncology centers; physical therapy and rehabilitation centers; and telemedicine, which makes remote diagnosis and treatment of patients possible.
During the groundbreaking, the senator also provided grocery packs to some residents of the said town.
Meanwhile, he also highlighted other health initiatives, such as the continued operations of Malasakit Centers and the establishment of more Regional Specialty Centers.
A brainchild of Go, the Malasakit Center was institutionalized under Republic Act 11463, which he principally authored and sponsored to provide convenient access to medical assistance programs of the government.
There are currently 159 operational centers and, according to DOH, these centers have helped more than 10 million poor and indigent Filipinos nationwide.
Go encouraged individuals with health concerns to visit Davao Oriental Provincial Medical Center in Mati City for assistance with their medical-related expenses.
He also brought attention to RA 11959 or the Regional Specialty Centers Act, for which he served as a principal sponsor and one of the authors in the Senate.
The Regional Specialty Centers Act assumes an important role in the healthcare legislative priorities of the Marcos Administration, as outlined in the Philippine Development Plan for the years 2023 to 2028.
This law shall create Regional Specialty Centers within pre-existing regional hospitals under the jurisdiction of DOH.
“Priority rin ito ni President Bongbong Marcos. It’s a 5-year, multiyear plan ng government establishing Specialty Center sa DOH regional hospitals katulad ng Heart Center, kidney, neonatal, mental, ortho. Itatayo na sa mga existing DOH regional hospitals,” explained Go.
“Proud akong ibalita sa inyo na nakakuha ako ng 24-0 na boto sa Senado. Ako ang principal sponsor, walang komontra dahil alam nilang makakatulong ito sa mga mahihirap nating mga kababayan. Ako, uunahin ko talaga ang mga mahihirap. Iyan talaga ang aking priority, mga pro-poor programs na makakatulong sa mga kababayan natin na walang matatakbuhan kundi ang gobyerno,” said Go.
On the same day, Go inspected the town’s activity center, which he supported the funding of as vice chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance.
He then also attended a farmers forum and assisted 2,500 agricultural workers present.
The senator then visited Mati City where he inspected another Super Health Center and witnessed the turnover of motorboat engines to the local fisherfolk of Mati City.