By Mario Casayuran
Amid criticism that his ‘’Malasakit Center’’ is being used as a partisan tool, neophyte Senator Christopher Lawrence ‘’Bong’’ Go said his center is open to all Filipinos wanting medical assistance.
Go issued the statement following criticisms from Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman that he wants the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) to investigate the operations of his ‘’Malasakit Center’’ because it is being used as a partisan tool rather than a medical outlet.
He said he has no objection at all to any investigation into the operation of these centers.
‘’Walang partisan o political considerations, walang pinipili na tutulungan, hindi kailangan ng anumang endorsement letter o ID mula sa pulitiko. Ito po ay isang solusyon ng Duterte administration para sa libu-libong Pilipino na humihingi ng tulong sa gobyerno para lang magpagamot. Pera niyo po ito, ibinabalik lang sa inyo,’’ (There is no partisan or political considerations, no one is being selected requiring help, there is no need for endorsement or ID from a politician. This is a solution of the Duterte administration so that thousands of Filipinos seeking help could be treated by the government. This is your money, being returned to you.)
Go stressed that the Malasakit Center is a continuing program of President Duterte.
This is a one-stop-shop assistance center where offices of various government agencies are housed to give financial and medical assistance, particularly for the indigent and poor patients, he said.
‘’PCSO is just one of the agencies in the Malasakit Center providing medical assistance. Along with PhilHealth, Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development( DSWD) and PCSO, Malasakit Center becomes the processing center or the one-stop-shop found in public hospitals so that patients do not need to waste their time lining up in different government agencies just to seek help,’’ Go explained.
‘’To clarify further, PCSO does not provide funds in the establishment of Malasakit Centers (MCs). All these agencies retain their medical assistance programs, with their separate funds, even if they are part of the Malasakit Center. MC is just a streamlining mechanism to accelerate financial and medical assistance to poor patients,’’ he added.
Go said all patients go through the process of every government agency like the PCSO.
The former special assistant of President Duterte pointed out that the Malasakit Center does no pick outpatients it wanted to help but it is the agencies themselves, including the PCSO, that assess how the financial aid it could give as assistance.
He quoted the PCSO as saying that its medical assistance program has been there even prior to Malasakit Center.
‘’There has been improvement in their service delivery in view of the concept of the one-stop-shop Malasakit Center, making indigents’ availment to their and other agencies’ assistance programs easy and accessible,’’ he said.
` Go said the MC he had established in Lagman’s congressional district of Albay whose operation is deemed a success.
‘’ Nandoon pa po ang anak ninyo na si Vice Governor Grex Lagman sa opening para magwitness sa proyekto na ito. Mayroon rin tayong Malasakit Center sa Naga na binuksan recently. Wala pong pinipili ito, para po ito sa bawat Pilipinong nangangailangan. Do not be Anti Poor,’’ he added. (Your son, Vice Governor Grex Lagman, was there during the opening of the center to witness the project. Every Filipino is being served. Do not be anti-poor.)