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Press Release - Bong Go champions impartial and inclusive healthcare especially for the poor

During the plenary debates for the 2024 budget of the Department of Health (DOH) on the wee hours of Wednesday, November 15, Senator Christopher "Bong" Go, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health, emphasized the vital role of Malasakit Centers in providing impartial and inclusive healthcare access and affordability, focusing particularly on the needs of indigent Filipinos.

During the interpellations with Senator Pia Cayetano who was sponsoring the DOH proposed budget, Go, vice chairperson of the Committee on Finance, elaborated on the importance of accessibility and affordability of healthcare services especially for the poor.

"Aside from accessibility of health facilities, equally important is the affordability of health services," he stated, underlining the foundation of his advocacy.

This perspective led him to author and sponsor Republic Act 11463, known as the Malasakit Centers Act. The Act mandates the establishment of Malasakit Centers in all Department of Health (DOH) hospitals and the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), aiming to create a more inclusive healthcare environment.

Inquiring about the impact of these centers, Go asked for an update on the number of patients served since the enactment of the Act. The DOH responded with updated figures through its sponsor, indicating that around 10 million patients have been assisted by Malasakit Centers as of October 2023.

This number signifies a significant increase from the seven million beneficiaries reported last year, demonstrating the growing reach and effectiveness of these centers in aiding the healthcare needs of Filipinos, especially the underprivileged.

Go emphasized the centers' role in aiding the underprivileged, who rely heavily on government support for medical needs.

"Marami sa mga mahihirap nating kababayan ang umaasa sa tulong ng gobyerno kapag sila ay na-oospital. Malasakit Centers ensure easier access of patients to government assistance," he stated.

The senator also underscored the importance of not denying service to any patient, especially considering the proposed increased budget for the Medical Assistance to Indigent Patients (MAIP) Program for 2024.

In his appeal, Go also