CANDLE FOR THE MISSING 'YOLANDA' VICTIMS. Former Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence 'Bong' Go lights a candle at a mini memorial in this city set up to remember the missing victims of super typhoon Yolanda in 2013. (Photo from Facebook page of Bong Go)

TACLOBAN CITY -- Former Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has vowed to work for the institutionalization of one-stop shop Malasakit Centers in the country once elected as senator in next year’s mid-term elections.

“Even after the term of President Rodrigo Duterte, we want that operations of the center will be sustained. We are aware that it’s hard for poor people to get sick since it is inconvenient to avail all services from various government agencies,” Go told reporters here on Wednesday afternoon.

Go was in this city to witness the forging of alliance between Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago party, Tingog Sinirangan partylist, and the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) party. The alliance seeks to endorse common senatorial candidates for the May 2019 mid-term elections.

Go, who launched several Malasakit Centers nationwide as the President’s top presidential aide, emphasized the need to expand the pro-poor medical services.

Currently, there are 15 existing Malasakit Centers in the country. Primarily, it aims to help beneficiaries have a “zero balance” on their medical expenses. Among the priority groups are senior citizens and persons with disabilities.

The one-stop shop is manned by staff of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Health, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., and the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. It makes a unified requirement system possible, aside from the unified, single-window application form.

The centers’ operation is primarily funded by the socio-civic funds of the Office of the President. (PNA)