Strengthen public health services — Go

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go remains steadfast in his commitment to strengthen the country’s health services as he highlighted his priority measures aimed at upgrading and enhancing the public health system and improving access to healthcare services particularly in poor, underserved and far-flung areas.

“We need to address the weaknesses and gaps of our healthcare system so that we would be ready in case there would be another public health crisis in the future,” he stressed during the 87th National Convention of the Philippine Public Health Association at the Manila Hotel on Thursday, 4 August.

As chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, Go mentioned that one of his priorities is to strengthen existing and establish more healthcare facilities nationwide.

The lawmaker has earlier sponsored 69 laws upgrading and establishing public hospitals all over the country. More so, he successfully pushed for Republic Act (RA) 11712 which provides mandatory continuing benefits and allowances to public and private healthcare workers and barangay health workers during a state of public health emergency.

He likewise authored and co-sponsored RA 11466, or the Salary Standardization Law 5, in 2019 which gives civilian government employees, including nurses, their fifth round of salary increases broken down in tranches.

Witnessing firsthand the struggles of low-income Filipinos in seeking help to receive adequate medical attention, Go had initiated the Malasakit Centers program in 2018 with the aim of providing particularly poor and indigent patients convenient access to quality and affordable healthcare services.

The program was later institutionalized under RA 11463, otherwise known as the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, which Go primarily authored and sponsored. To date, there are 151 established Malasakit Centers that have assisted more than three million Filipinos nationwide.

Health bills

As he continues to push and develop measures that are targeted to improve the country’s healthcare system, Go also filed several health bills in the 19th Congress, including providing free annual medical check-up and dialysis to Filipinos; Advanced Nursing Education Bill; a measure establishing an Emergency Medical Services System; bills establishing the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines; a measure providing benefits and compensation to barangay health workers; and a bill which seeks to establish Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Centers nationwide.

With the emergence of new Covid-19 Omicron subvariants and the continuous spread of monkeypox worldwide, the senator then urged the public to remain cooperative with the government’s health preventive measures. He reassured that he will continue coordinating with concerned agencies to ensure better measures and efforts against health threats.

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