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Go champions senior citizens’ welfare

The Philippine Star
Go champions senior citizens� welfare
Sen. Bong Go takes a selfie with senior citizens at the 2nd National Commission of Senior Citizens-National Capital Region Stakeholders’ Summit on Nov. 30 in Pasay City.

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Bong Go, in his address at the 2nd National Commission of Senior Citizens (NCSC)-National Capital Region Stakeholders’ Summit, advocated for the welfare of senior citizens, highlighting his commitment to enhancing their quality of life and fostering a sense of community for the elderly.

“Your theme resonates deeply with the values we hold. It is essential that we work together for the unity and progress of our senior citizens,” Go said, as he praised the summit’s theme, “Ugnayan para sa Pagkakaisa; Pag-unlad Tungo sa Mahalagang Pag-usad.”

Reflecting on his personal connections, he shared memories of his grandmother, emphasizing the deep bond and respect he holds for the elderly.

“I was close with my grandmother. She took me to Manila even though we were from Davao,” Go said in Filipino, underlining the personal influence that shaped his commitment to senior citizens’ welfare.

“I will never, ever forget my grandmother,” he added, conveying the lasting impact of these early experiences on his dedication to elder care and advocacy.

Go highlighted the significant role seniors play in family and community. “I want to take care of the lives of our grandfathers and grandmothers,” he said, stressing the importance of cherishing the time spent with elderly loved ones and acknowledging their contributions to our lives.

Addressing the seniors directly, he emphasized the importance of open communication with the government and their organizations, ensuring they know they are heard and valued. He highlighted that Republic Act (RA) 11350, which created the NCSC, was enacted during the administration of former president Duterte.

Go has been a staunch advocate of the welfare of senior citizens. Previously, he co-authored RA 11916, an Act Increasing the Social Pension of Indigent Senior Citizens, which amended RA 7432, the first Senior Citizens Act.

“The law is there. It must be implemented correctly to be of use to our citizens, especially the seniors, for which this law is for. Let us immediately give them what they deserve,” Go said.

The senator also co-authored and co-sponsored Senate Bill 2028, which was principally sponsored by Sen. Imee Marcos. The bill aims to provide additional support to individuals who have reached 80 and 90 years old. This proposal amends the Centenarian Act of 2016, to provide support even to those nearing the milestone of a century.

As chairman of the Senate committee on health and demography, he also urged the public to utilize medical and financial assistance from any of the Malasakit Centers in the country.

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 assist impoverished patients in reducing their hospital costs to the least possible amount.

Go is the principal author and sponsor of RA 11463 or the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019.

Currently, 159 Malasakit Centers are operational across the country, poised to assist with patients’ medical expenses. The DOH reported that the Malasakit Center program has already provided aid to more than 10 million Filipinos.

Go also reiterated his commitment to support the establishment of more Super Health Centers across the country, considering how they can significantly help reduce hospital occupancy rates while bringing government medical services closer to the grassroots.

He said that Super Health Centers are designed to focus on primary care, consultation and early detection, further strengthening the country’s health care sector, especially in grassroots communities.

Finally, Go also principally sponsored and is one of the authors of RA 11959, also known as the Regional Specialty Centers Act, which was signed into law by President Marcos on Aug. 24.

The law mandates the establishment of Regional Specialty Centers within existing DOH regional hospitals.

“Through the Malasakit Centers, Super Health Centers and Regional Specialty Centers which I advanced along with my fellow lawmakers, we can bring medical services closer to the people, especially for the elderly so that they do not have to struggle in order to get treatment,” Go said.

Meanwhile, the senator and his team handed out specially assembled senior citizen packs to each of the 260 senior citizens in attendance at the event.

In his concluding remarks, Go called upon each individual to embrace the spirit of kindness and generosity, highlighting the fleeting nature of life and the paramount importance of acting with compassion and promptness in our daily interactions.

Earlier that day, Go attended the bicameral conference committee on House Bill 8980, or the General Appropriations Bill, in Makati City. He then personally attended the 48th Annual National Convention and 3E Xpo of the Institute of Integrated Electrical Engineers of the Philippines Incorporated at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. After which, he visited Malabon City to lead the groundbreaking of the city’s Super Health Center.

On the same day, Go’s staff also attended the year-end meeting of the Federation of Senior Citizens Associations of the Philippines composed of regional presidents in Taguig City to express support to initiatives that will promote the welfare of senior citizens.

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