Controversy-riddled Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) may be ridiculed for alleged corruption but Senator Christopher “Bong” Go believes there are still honest employees who fulfill their duties and put the interests of the public above their own.
Under new head Dante Gierran, Go urged PhilHealth employees to ensure public funds are being used to provide quality health care.
“I am confident that honest and straight PhilHealth employees outnumber those who are engaged in corrupt practices,” he said during Friday’s virtual launch of the 88th Malasakit Center (MC) at Don Emilio del Valle Memorial Hospital in Ubay, Bohol.
It was the second MC in the province after the 2018 opening at the Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital in Tagbilaran City.
“Some PhilHealth money are remittances sent by overseas Filipino workers who spend time away from their families in order to provide them with better future,” he said. “I’m appealing to PhilHealth to use funds for real healthcare services.”
Go is also chair of the Committee on Health and of the Congressional Oversight Committee on the Universal Health Care Act.
Further, he warned that the Duterte administration remains steadfast in its commitment to combat and eradicate corruption in all levels of government.
“I say this to corrupt PhilHealth officials. We won’t stop until we identify and eradicate all of you. We won’t allow the hard-earned money of Filipinos to go to waste,” he warned.
The launch was also made possible by Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino, Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, Governor Arthur Yap, Representative Kristine Alexie Tutor, Ubay Mayor Constantino Reyes, Vice Mayor Victor Bonghanoy and Dr. Edwin Orina.
Go also took the opportunity to recognize the hard work and sacrifices of hospital staff and other frontliners amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
As an aide to then-Davao City Mayor Duterte, Go witnessed firsthand the difficulties experienced by ordinary Filipinos to obtain medical and financial assistance from the government. Thus, he was inspired to establish the first Malasakit Center in Cebu City inside the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center.
“I saw how poor and indigent patients begged Mayor Duterte for help. That spurred me to establish the Malasakit Center. Mayor Duterte instructed me as early as then to do what I can to make sure all patients get the help they need,” he said.
Go authored the Malasakit Center Act of 2019 which was signed into law in December. The one-stop shop houses Department of Health (DoH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), PhilHealth and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office staff who assist poor patients.
The law mandates the establishment of Malasakit Centers in the Philippine General Hospital in Manila City and all DoH-run hospitals. Other public hospitals may establish their own MC provided they meet the set criteria and guarantee the necessary funds.
DSWD provided financial assistance to 124 of the hospital’s patients on the same day as the launch.
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