Former Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong’ Go has affirmed his solidarity with barangay health workers (BHWs) and lauded them for their crucial role in providing quality healthcare and medical services to uplift the life of each and every Filipino.
“I care for the health of the Filipino people. An effective and efficient healthcare system is vital in ensuring that our people remain healthy and productive. Your role as BHWs is crucial in furthering this cause,” he said.
Go was invited as guest of honor in the 21st Barangay Health Workers Congress on Monday. It is an annual celebration held by the organization every first week of December to emphasize the vital role of its members in the delivery of government health services to the grassroots.
Go thanked the BHWs for their sacrifice and service in making sure that every Filipino, especially those in the grassroots, is given importance when it comes to their healthcare needs.
“Importante po ang inyong papel sa komunidad dahil kayo ang unang tumutugon sa mga pangangailangang pangkalusugan ng ating mga kababayan. Taos puso ko kayong pinasasalamatan para sa inyong serbisyo, kontribusyon, at sa suportang patuloy niyong binibigay sa ating bansa,” Go said.
Go stressed the importance of recognizing the role of BHWs especially since their positions are still considered ‘voluntary in nature’ despite acting as ‘frontliners’ in the delivery of medical services to the communities.
Go, who is a candidate in the upcoming 2019 senatorial race, committed that he will push for measures to improve the welfare of all BHWs so that they can be more productive in fulfilling their mandate.
“Pag-aaralan ko po kung paano madadagdagan ang benepisyo na naibibigay sa BHWs. Tulad ng ibang kawani ng gobyerno, dapat ay ma-recognize at mabigyang importansiya ang inyong role sa ating komunidad,” he said.
Go also said that he is aware of the difficult situation some Filipinos are experiencing in availing themselves of quality healthcare, which is why he plans to push for measures that would make services easily accessible to those who need government attention the most.
“Hindi natin dapat pahirapan ang mga may sakit para lang makakuha ng tulong na pang-medikal. Paano gagaling ang pasyente kung problemado sila paano mababayaran ang pangpagamot nila?”
Go has been instrumental in establishing Malasakit Centers nationwide. The Malasakit Center is a ‘one stop shop’ where indigent patients can avail of financial assistance from various government agencies, such as the Department of Health, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philhealth, PAGCOR, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
Bong Go explained that through the center, those seeking government support in paying for their hospital bills need not go to different government offices for help. They only need to go to one place to avail of the medical assistance they need.
Currently, the closest operating Malasakit Center to Tarlac is at the Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital in San Fernando, Pampanga. He said the government is planning to also put one in Tarlac and in other provinces in Central Luzon.
“Dito sa tarlac magkakaroon din po tayo ng Malasakit Center. Kung meron pang (hospital bill) balance, tutulungan po ng Malasakit Center. Para ito sa Pilipino, binabalik lang po namin ang pera na sa inyo,” Go said.
Moreover, Go said that he will study how the Universal Healthcare Bill and other similar proposed measures can be enhanced so that the creation of Malasakit Centers in every province will be institutionalized.
“Plano kong isabatas ang pagkakaroon ng Malasakit Center sa bawat probinsiya para mas maraming pilipino pa ang matulungan. Kahit tapos na ang termino ni Pangulong Duterte, mayroon pa rin dapat kayong malalapitan na Malasakit Center para sa mga pangangailangan ninyo,” he said.