SUPER HEALTH CENTER. Senator Christopher Lawrence Go, (3rd from right), together with Governor Maria Angelica Rosedell Amante (2nd from left) and Mayor Karen Rosales (3rd from left) lead the groundbreaking ceremony for the establishment of a super health center in Barangay Mat-i, Las Nieves town, Agusan del Norte province on Tuesday (June 6, 2023). The center will bring comprehensive health services to the remote villages in the town, particularly the tribal communities. (PNA photo by Alexander Lopez)

LAS NIEVES, Agusan del Norte — Indigenous people (IP) communities in this town will soon be able to access the nearest health facility and services of the government with the establishment of a super health center.

On Tuesday, Senator Christopher Lawrence Go, together with Agusan del Norte Governor Maria Angelica Rosedell Amante, and Mayor Karen Rosales led the groundbreaking ceremony of a super health center in Barangay Mat-i here.

“This health facility will serve at least ten barangays in Las Nieves mostly populated by the Manobo and Higaonon tribes,” said Hawudon Armando Una, the IP Mandatory Representative of Las Nieves, in an interview at the sideline of the groundbreaking ceremony.

Una thanked Sen. Go and the leaders of the town and province for addressing the health needs of the IP communities through the establishment of a super health center.

In a separate interview, Dr. Rosemarie Dolores Ruela, municipal health officer, said wider health services will be provided by the super health center in the locality.

“The super health center will offer diagnostics and advanced facilities to include x-ray, ultrasound, and pediatric services,” Ruela said, adding that the center will also offer minor surgeries, dental services, and serve as a birthing facility.

Go said the establishment of super health centers in the country is among his priorities as the chair of the Senate’s Committee on Health.

“We target to put up 322 super health centers for this year across the country. Agusan del Norte will have four of these centers including Butuan City,” the senator said.

He added that his office is also pushing for more Malasakit Centers, which currently has 157 facilities in the country.

In Agusan del Norte, super health centers will also be established in Santiago town, Cabadbaran City, and Barangay Ambago in Butuan City.

Rosales said the establishment of a super health center has been the dream of the residents here.

“The construction of this health facility will commence and soon will provide adequate health services for our people, especially those coming from the geographically isolated and conflict-affected areas,” she said.

AICS assistance

While here, Go also led the distribution of the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) payout on Tuesday afternoon in Barangay Mat-i.

Some 1,500 residents of Las Nieves received PHP3,000 each in financial assistance through the AICS for a total of PHP4.5 million.

Among those who received the assistance was Buenvenido Bedida Jr., 56, a farmer from Barangay Durian.

“The recent calamities, especially the flooding affected my farm and brought some difficulties to my family,” Bedida said.

Maria Luz Benocilla, 51, a mother of seven also got her AICS assistance on Tuesday and was thankful to the government for always being with the people in times of difficulties. (PNA)