(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Wednesday, 24 July 2024) At 3:00 AM today, the Low Pressure Area (LPA) was estimated based on all available data at 135 km West Southwest of Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro (13.1°N, 120.0°E). Meanwhile, another LPA was estimated based on all available data at 880 km East of Eastern Visayas (11.1°N, 133.8°E). 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—˜π—”π—§π—›π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur will experience cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms due to Southwest Monsoon. Possible flash floods or landslides due to moderate to at times heavy rains. 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—œπ—‘π—— 𝗔𝗑𝗗 π—–π—’π—”π—¦π—§π—”π—Ÿ π—ͺπ—”π—§π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Light to Moderate winds coming from Southwest to Southeast will prevail with slight to moderate seas (0.6 to 2.5 meters).

Sunday, July 4, 2021

125th Malasakit Center opens in Siargao Island as Bong Go vows better access to public health services in far-flung communities

In his visit to Siargao Island on July 3, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go attended the launch of the country’s 125th Malasakit Center. He cited that this is a big step towards improving access to public health services in far-flung communities. 

The newest Malasakit center was established at the Siargao District Hospital, which has recently been upgraded and converted into the Siargao Island Medical Center with the enactment of a law that Go sponsored in the Senate last year. 

“Sinabi ko talaga na pupunta ako dito sa Dapa (town) para mabuksan at magamit na ng mga pasyente, lalo na ng mga nangangailangan ng tulong, ang Malasakit Center na ito,” Go began in his remarks. 

The new Malasakit Center is the second in the province and third in the Caraga region, after the Caraga Regional Hospital in Surigao City and Butuan Medical Center in Butuan City, Surigao del Sur. 

In his message, the Senator lamented that many Filipino patients do not have health insurance coverage and are often left to pay for their medical bills. With the launching, Go said that this will help patients get the treatments and medications they need without worrying about the costs since medical assistance from the government will be conveniently available for them in the Malasakit Centers to cover for their hospital and medical related bills. 

The Malasakit Center brings together under its roof the medical assistance programs offered by the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. 

“Lapitan niyo lang ang Malasakit Center at tutulungan kayo ng mga ahensya para wala na kayong babayaran sa ospital. Kung may balanseng naiwan, may pondong iniwan din si Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte para kung kaya ay maging ‘zero balance’ ang billing niyo. Kung kailangan niyo ng tulong, gaya ng pamasahe, pwede kayong lumapit sa DSWD rin dito,” explained Go. 

The Malasakit Centers program was institutionalized under Republic Act No. 11463, also known as the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019. Go principally authored and sponsored the bill in the Senate prior to President Rodrigo Duterte signing it into law in December 2019. 

“So far, we have assisted around two million … wala itong pinipili na pasyente. Para ito sa mga Pilipino lalo na sa mga poor at indigent patients,” continued Go. 

“Sa mga helpless, hopeless at walang matakbuhan, dito kayo pumunta sa Malasakit Center dahil para ito sa inyo. Kapag hindi kayo tinulungan, sabihin niyo ‘hoy, Pilipino ako. Karapatan ko ito’,” he added, stressing that the Malasakit Centers are for all Filipinos. 

As Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Go vowed to work together with local leaders to improve public health services in the island. In 2020, Go sponsored a bill which later became Republic Act No. 11500. The law, which Rep. Bingo Matugas authored, sought to upgrade the capabilities of the Siargao District Hospital and rename it into the Siargao Island Medical Center. This also increases the hospital’s bed capacity from 50 to 100 beds and places it under the supervision of the DOH. It also directs the upgrading of its professional healthcare services and facilities and authorizes the increase of its medical personnel. 

“Dumaan ako sa butas ng karayom para ipaglaban ang mga batas para i-upgrade ang mga pampublikong ospital natin dahil alam ko ang mga mahihirap ang makikinabang dito. Minsan may mga ospital na umaabot ng 400% ang occupancy rate. Sa isang kama, may apat na pasyente. Paano sila gagaling kung ganyan ang sitwasyon?” asked Go. 

“Hindi ako ‘yung klase na pulitiko na mangangako ng hindi ko kaya gawin. Pero makakaasa kayo na magseserbisyo ako sa abot ng aking makakaya. Sa mga doctors, nurses at iba pang frontliners dito, ‘wag kayong mag-alala dahil ipaglalaban ko kayo,” he reiterated. 

The Senator’s team handed out meals, food packs, vitamins, masks and face shields to a total of 115 frontline health workers after the ceremony. Selected beneficiaries were given bicycles while others received pairs of shoes. Some also received computer tablets for their children’s education. 

The DSWD also provided qualified rank-and-file hospital employees with financial assistance in a separate distribution. Similar aid was likewise extended to 25 indigent patients. 

“Kung kailangan niyo ng tulong para magpagamot sa Maynila …hindi niyo na kailangan mag-alala sa gastusin. Gagawin namin ang lahat maka-salba ng buhay. Tutulungan namin kayo, lalo na ang mga sa far-flung areas, gaya ng Siargao Island, kung saan nakahiwalay ang lugar at mahirap mag-avail ng medical services,” said Go. 

Meanwhile, Go encouraged residents to get vaccinated in accordance with the national vaccine program guidelines. He assured local leaders that he will help coordinate with the national government so that they would be able to get sufficient vaccines for their constituents. 

Among those present during the activity were Secretary Michael Dino of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, 1st District Rep. Matugas, Governor Francisco T. Matugas, Mayor Elizabeth Matugas, Chief of Hospital Dr. Ester Tan, and other local officials  

Also present were Board Members Constantino Navarro IV, Nathaniel Plaza, Edgar Andanar, Guillermo Boncaros, and Julecs Sunico; Burgos Mayor Emmanuel Arcena, Del Carmen Mayor Proserfina Coro, General Luna Mayor Cecilia Rusillon, Pilar Mayor Liza Resurreccion, San Benito Mayor Ma. Gina Menil, San Isidro Mayor Lamberto Domiños, Sta. Monica Mayor Fernando Dolar, and Socorro Mayor Felizardo Galanida, among others. 

To boost economic opportunities in the island, Go supported the funding for the construction of a diversion road from Dapa Port to Barangay 13 and flood control embankment in Boulevard Area in Barangays 2 and Barangay 6. He also supported efforts for the concreting of roads, rehabilitation of recreational facilities, construction of multi-purpose buildings, improvement of bridges, and other infrastructure projects in Siargao Island. 

After the launch, Go and his team then proceeded to the Dinakpan Gym in Del Carmen where they distributed aid to farmers and fisherfolk. More forms of aid were provided through the government’s Aid and Humanitarian Operations Nationwide (AHON) Convergence Program for vulnerable sectors. 

As Go traversed the island, he also interacted with residents, listened to their concerns, and extended his help based on their needs. He provided tablets to some of the children to help them pursue their schooling amid the ongoing pandemic.