Senator Bong Go, serving as the chair of the Commission on Appointments Committee on Health, played a pivotal role in sponsoring the confirmation of Dr. Ted Herbosa as the Secretary of the Department of Health (DOH) to showcase his unwavering commitment to public health.
The confirmation took place during a Committee on Appointments plenary session, where Senator Go eloquently emphasised the paramount importance of prioritising the well-being of the country’s poor and vulnerable populations while ensuring the seamless continuation of critical government health programs.
Prioritising the Vulnerable
Senator Bong Go’s fervent commitment to the welfare of the less privileged was vividly demonstrated during the committee hearing. During the hearing, he directed his focus toward the continued support for Malasakit Centers. These centres are mandated by Republic Act 11463, also known as the Malasakit Centers Act. Therefore, these centres serve as crucial conduits for extending medical aid to indigent patients. Senator Go sought not only to secure Dr Herbosa’s commitment to the program. Additionally, he wants to enhance and fortify the Malasakit Centers. Senator Go recognises their critical role in providing holistic healthcare solutions to those in need.
Commitment to Malasakit Centers
Dr Herbosa eloquently affirmed the DOH’s unwavering dedication to improving healthcare accessibility through steadfast support and operation of Malasakit Centers in response to Senator Go’s insightful inquiries. Dr Herbosa pledged to uphold the provisions of the Malasakit Centers Act. He also assured the senator of the strategic locations of these centres in various hospitals continuing their vital operations. He wants to ensure that these remain beacons of hope for disadvantaged patients seeking medical assistance.
Addressing Health Concerns
Senator Bong Go’s comprehensive engagement with Dr Herbosa extended beyond the scope of Malasakit Centers. It covered a spectrum of pressing health concerns, including the escalating cases of influenza and the adept management of potential health emergencies. They both acknowledged the indispensable role played by healthcare workers during the turbulent period of the pandemic. Senator Go fervently stressed the crucial need for their deserved compensation, as outlined in RA 11712. RA 11712, a law he both co-authored and co-sponsored, encompasses both healthcare and non-healthcare personnel, irrespective of their employment status. This includes individuals affected by COVID-19 or any prospective public health crises officially declared from the moment of the emergency proclamation until the President lifts it. Despite lifting the state of public health emergency in July, the senator expressed hope for the swift fulfilment of health emergency allowances owed to dedicated healthcare professionals.
Lessons from the Pandemic
In addressing the mounting health concerns, Dr Herbosa had to draw from the profound lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic. He underscored the enduring importance of foundational practices such as social distancing and the voluntary use of face masks. These measures, he emphasised, remain indispensable in the ongoing battle against the spread of infectious diseases. Therefore, it emphasises the need for continued public adherence to these preventive measures in the face of current and emerging health challenges.
Senator Bong Go’s proactive and hands-on approach in the confirmation proceedings of Dr. Ted Herbosa as the Secretary of the Department of Health showcases not only his legislative acumen but, more importantly, his deep-seated dedication to public health and the well-being of the Filipino people. As the nation grapples with ongoing health challenges, the collaborative efforts of committed policymakers like Senator Go and health leaders like Dr Herbosa are pivotal in ensuring a resilient and responsive healthcare system that prioritises the health and welfare of all citizens.