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Lagman to PCSO: Explain funding to Malasakit Centers

‘It is more of a partisan tool rather than a medical outlet’
By: - Reporter / @DYGalvezINQ
/ 07:00 PM August 23, 2019
Solon to PCSO: Explain funding to Malasakit Centers

Rep. Edcel Lagman PHOTO by Gabriel Pabico Lalu

MANILA, Philippines — Albay 5th District Rep. Edcel Lagman on Friday sought an explanation from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) as to why was it funding Malasakit Centers, a pet project of presidential aide-turned-lawmaker, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go.

During the House hearing on PCSO’s budget for 2020, Lagman asked the agency for its legal basis in funding Malasakit Centers, which he described as a “partisan tool rather than a medical outlet.”

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‘I think there should be a legal basis for you to fund these Malasakit Centers and I would suppose that there is a need for you to investigate and validate the effectivity of these Malasakit Centers,” Lagman said.

“Because it is more of a partisan tool rather than a medical outlet,” he added.

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According to PCSO, Malasakit Centers are part of its Individual Medical Assistance Program (IMAP), which received P8.68 billion from its charity fund in 2018. 

PCSO General Manager Royina Garma explained that the purpose of the Malasakit Centers is to “streamline the services” of all government institutions providing medical assistance.

She also added that the centers serve as a “one-stop-shop” facility commonly found in hospitals where those seeking medical assistance can access government agencies.

“We have people there to assist in the documents and these are referred pa rin and charged in our IMAP,” Garman said.

Lagman asked PCSO to “go to the ground operations” and make a “thorough validation and investigation” of the operations of the said centers.

“We would like to ask the PCSO to go on the ground operations because there are many complaints that there are more nagkakasakit because of the Malasakit Centers,” the lawmaker said.

“Kindly make a thorough validation and investigation of the operations of these Malasakit Centers because it is like a political front, a partisan activity,” he added. 

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In a separate interview, Garma said that PCSO does not fund the Malasakit Centers. She also said that PCSO’s At Source and Processing (ASAP), which facilitates medical assistance in hospitals, is part of the Malasakit Centers.

“We are not funding the center, we are funding the clients who ask for medical assistance,” the PCSO official noted. /kga

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