Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go went to Marawi City in Lanao del Sur on Friday, February 21, to conduct an ocular inspection of the rehabilitation efforts of the government in the area. After the ocular, he also witnessed the opening of the 64th Malasakit Center in the country in Amai Pakpak Medical Center.
Go, Vice Chair of the Senate Special Committee on Marawi City Rehabilitation, attended the events with fellow senators Francis Tolentino and Imee Marcos, Committee Chair Ronald dela Rosa and Senate Majority Floor Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, the sponsor of the resolution that reconstituted the Special Committee.
“Nandito kami ngayon para tingnan ang progress ng rehabilitation ng Marawi. Alam kong gusto niyo rin pong mabilis. Nagmamadali na rin po kayo,” Go said in a speech when the Senators met the homeowners in a housing project at Gadongan, one of the barangays that the Senators visited.
Go also shared that President Rodrigo Duterte wants Marawi City to be drug-free. “Bakit ba nagkagiyera dito sa Marawi? Alam niyo naman po ano ang isa sa mga dahilan. Itong droga po. Itong salot na droga. Hindi lang po rehabilitasyon ng Marawi ang pinag-uusapan natin dito but ‘yung future po. Tulungan niyo po ang gobyerno ni Pangulong Duterte sa kampanya laban sa iligal na droga,” the Senator said.
In an interview after the ocular inspection, Go expressed his observations with what he had seen. “Medyo may pagkukulang talaga, at ayaw namin, ayaw ni Pangulo, na nakatiwangwang ‘to hanggang sa pag-end ng kanyang termino sa 2022. Ayaw niyang may mga proyektong hindi natatapos,” Go told reporters.
“Katulad kanina, mas marami pa ang sasakyan kaysa sa bahay. Hindi pwedeng ganun kabagal ang rehabilitasyon. Nag-aantay ang mga kapatid nating Muslim dito. Ang iba po nandun na sa Manila pa, sa Pasay, nagbebenta na lang po doon,” he added.
He also said that he will definitely inform the President of the situation. “Ipaparating ko kaagad sa ating mahal na Pangulo kung umusad na ba ang Bangon Marawi project. Nandidiyan naman ang pondo. Nagamit na ba? Mabagal ba ‘yung mga releases?”
The Senator urged concerned agencies to fast track the rehabilitation efforts and make sure that the projects are completed immediately to benefit the people of Marawi.
“Ayaw natin na mag-iwan ng nakatiwangwang diyan. Ako, bilang malapit sa Pangulo, kaya po ako narito, gusto ko po na maging tulay kami ninyo kay Pangulo. Kung may reklamo kayo, may gusto pa kayong iparating sa Pangulo, iparating ninyo na po kaagad ngayon,” Go said.
“Mga kapatid po namin dito sa Mindanao, lalo na dito sa Marawi, hindi po namin kayo papabayaan… Magtulungan po tayo. Bilang isang Mindanaoan, ako mismo ay gagawin ang lahat ng maaari kong maiambag, lalo na sa mga bagay na may kinalaman sa kalusugan,” Go further stressed.
Go and the other Senators proceeded to the Malasakit Center at the Amai Pakpak Medical Center in the same city to attend its opening. “One-stop shop po ito. Pinagsama-sama dito ang apat na ahensiya ng gobyerno,” Go explained in his speech.
At the Malasakit Center, poor and indigent patients of the hospital may apply for financial and medical assistances from the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
The Senator also shared that additional funds will be given to this Malasakit Center which will be used in case the assistance from the four agencies cannot cover the entire amount in a patient’s hospital bill. “Zero balance ang target ng Malasakit Center,” Go said.
In an interview after the launch, the Senator told reporters that the establishment of the Malasakit Center is mandated by Republic Act (RA) No. 11463 or the Malasakit Center Act of 2019. “DOH-run hospital itong Amai Pakpak Medical Center. Part po ito ng batas na lagyan ng Malasakit Center,” said Go, the main author of the law.
RA 11463, meant to complement the Universal Health Care Law, mandates the establishment of a Malasakit Center in the Philippine General Hospital and in each of the 73 DOH-run hospitals throughout the country. Hospitals run by local government units may also have their own Malasakit Centers provided that these health institutions meet the standards and criteria set in the IRR of the law.
“Huwag nating pahirapan ang ating mga kababayan sa paghingi ng pagpapagamot. Ito ang panahon na litong-lito sila saan hihingi ng tulong. Tayo na po ang bumaba sa kanila at puntahan natin sila,” Go said.
Since 2019 until this reporting, a total of P9,275,205.90 medical assistance was downloaded by the Duterte administration to Amai Pakpak Medical Center through the efforts of Senator Go. This has catered to 3,271 patients so far. Among the details of various assistances provided include P286,683 for physical therapy of 284 patients; P1,028,098 for dialysis of 57 patients; P5,380,277 for hospital bills, medicines and laboratory of 823 in-patients; P1,720,098 for medicines of 1,705 out-patients; and P860,049 for laboratory fees of 852 out-patients.
After visiting Marawi city, the Senators proceeded to Iligan City for a hearing of the Special Committee at Mindanao State University–Iligan Institute of Technology campus.