Bong Go: 'No objection' to Lagman's call to probe Malasakit Centers

Bong Go: 'No objection' to Lagman's call to probe Malasakit Centers

MANILA, Philippines — “If they want to investigate this, I have no objection.”

This was Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go’s response to Albay 5th District Rep. Edcel Lagman’s call to Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office’s (PCSO) to investigate the ground operations of Malasakit Centers.

Go said the centers were established to help the public, noting that authorities are welcome to observe its operations.

“Para po ito sa tao kaya kung gusto nila malaman paano ito nakakatulong, welcome po sila na silipin ang operasyon ng Malasakit Center,” Go said in a statement on Friday.

During the House hearing on the PCSO’s 2020 budget, Lagman earlier questioned the PCSO’s legal basis for funding the Malasakit centers, which he called a “partisan tool rather than a medical outlet.”

Malasakit Centers is a project of Go, former top aide of President Rodrigo Duterte, which puts up one-stop shops to hasten the delivery of free medical services to indigent patients.

Go also defended his project to Lagan, citing that the Malasakit Center in Albay was successful and is now rendering assistance to Bicolanos.

Go said Lagman’s son Vice Gov. Grex Lagman was also present and witnessed during the opening of the Malasakit Center. Go also noted that a Malasakit Center recently opened in Naga.

The newbie senator also assured Lagman that the centers offer medical assistance for all the poor Filipinos. He also asked not to deny Malasakit Centers of their service to Filipinos.

“Wala pong pinipili ito, para po ito sa bawat Pilipinong nangangailangan. Do not be Anti Poor. Huwag po natin ipagkait ang tulong at pagmamalasakit natin sa ating mga kababayan. Pera niyo po ito, ibinabalik sa inyo sa pamamagitan ng maayos na serbisyo,” Go said.

Go explained that there are “no partisan or political considerations” in the Malasakit Centers when helping the poor.

“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,” he said.

Go noted that “PCSO is just one of the agencies in the Malasakit Center providing medical assistance.”

The Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), PCSO and 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.”

The senator also clarified that PCSO did not provide funds for Malasakit Centers as all government agencies have their own medical assistance programs and separate funds “even if they are part of the Malasakit Center.”

The centers are a “streamlining mechanism” to fast track the rendered medical and financial service for indigent patients, Go said.

Go also noted that the government agencies such as PCSO are mandated to assess the needed financial assistance to the patients.

“Hindi ang Malasakit Center ang pumipili ng bibigyan ng tulong. Ang mga ahensiya rin tulad ng PCSO ang maga-assess kung magkano dapat ang ibibigay na tulong pinansyal,” Go said.