The Malasakit Center program, an initiative spearheaded by Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, has once again demonstrated its vital role in assisting Filipinos in need. A recent case involving the Rodriguez family from San Rafael, Bulacan, highlighted the significant impact of this program on the lives of many poor Filipinos needing medical assistance from the government.
Raul Rodriguez, a 52-year-old father from San Rafael, Bulacan, shared his family’s harrowing experience. His son, Daniel, 11, suddenly fell ill during a family reunion. “Hindi po siya makakain na. Parang wala na siyang ganang kumain,” Raul said.
Daniel’s health rapidly deteriorated, losing his appetite and developing swelling in his face. Concerned, Raul took him to a local hospital in Bulacan, where doctors advised immediate admission to a specialized facility in Metro Manila.
The family faced immense challenges, including financial constraints and the mother’s health issues.
“Wala naman po ‘yung mga makapagbantay… Panggastos din naman namin sa ospital at wala naman po mapagkukunan,” Raul expressed the difficulties they faced, including financial hardships and the absence of caretakers due to his wife’s illness.
Despite these difficulties, they managed to bring Daniel to the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) in Quezon City for hemodialysis treatment. After three weeks at PCMC, Daniel’s condition worsened, leading to an emergency transfer to the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI).
Upon arrival at NKTI, Daniel’s condition was critical, with his heart functioning at only 25%. It was during this dire situation that Raul learned about the Malasakit Center and its services.
“Ang pagkakaalam po namin, sa Malasakit Center, eh, talagang tumutulong po sa mga kapus-palad na nangangailangan ng tulong (pampagamot),” he said, acknowledging the center’s role in aiding the underprivileged.
Malasakit Centers bring together representatives from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. These one-stop shops 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.
As of now, 159 Malasakit Centers are operational across the country, poised to assist with patients’ medical expenses. The DOH reports that the Malasakit Center program has already provided aid to around ten million Filipinos.
With the help of the Malasakit Center, the Rodriguez family received the necessary support and resources to manage Daniel’s medical expenses. Raul expressed profound gratitude to Go and the Malasakit Center, acknowledging that without their assistance, the family would have been lost and unable to afford the necessary medical care.
“Kami po ay nagpapasalamat sa kanya ng marami. At kung hindi po sa kanya, hindi po namin alam kung anong gagawin namin,” Raul expressed.
The assistance from the Malasakit Center proved to be a turning point. Daniel is now on the path to recovery.
Go, in response to the family’s situation, reinforced his commitment: “tutulong ako sa abot ng aking makakaya. ‘Yan lang po ang pwede kong ialay sa Pilipino. Ang aking serbisyo at pagmamalasakit po sa inyo.”
The story of the Rodriguez family is a powerful testament to the impact of the Malasakit Center in providing essential medical aid and support to Filipino families facing health crises. Go’s initiative continues to offer hope and tangible assistance to many, emphasizing the importance of compassionate and accessible healthcare in the country.