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Press Release - "My life was extended": A Davao City patient expresses gratitude for Bong Go's Malasakit Center initiative

February marks a significant period as the Malasakit Center, a program initiated by Senator Christopher "Bong" Go, celebrates its sixth anniversary. This program, aimed at providing accessible healthcare support to Filipinos, has provided aid for many, including Sheena Abello, who shared her heartfelt gratitude and experience with the initiative.

Sheena Abello, a Davao City resident treated at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in February 2023, recounted her ordeal with a rare medical condition known as hydatidiform mole. Initially mistaking her symptoms for pregnancy, Abello was shocked to discover her condition and faced a daunting hospital bill.

"Dahil po sa Malasakit (Center), natulungan po nila ako na ma-lessen po ang payment ko," she expressed, highlighting how the Malasakit Center stepped in to alleviate her financial burden.

The assistance continued after the bill payment. Abello's treatment required a three-year follow-up, necessitating monthly visits to the healthcare facility. The Malasakit Center's intervention meant she could continue her treatment without financial constraints.

"After po sa operation ko, meron po akong kailangan na three years na treatment. So, kailangan ko din po ipunta sa Malasakit para every month po, wala po akong mababayaran," she said.

"Malaki po ang tulong sa akin ng Malasakit (Center) po," Abello added.

Go's vision for the Malasakit Centers was to create one-stop shops for Filipinos seeking medical and financial assistance from various government agencies, including the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

These centers aim to support impoverished patients in reducing their hospital costs to the least possible amount.

Go is the principal author and sponsor of Republic Act No. 11463, or the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, which institutionalized the Malasakit Centers program.

Currently, 159 Malasakit Centers are operational nationwide, poised to assist with patients' medical expenses. The DOH reports that the Malasakit Center program has already provided aid to around