46th Malasakit Center opens in Novaliches
MANILA, Philippines – Another Malasakit Center was opened on Friday, Oct. 18, this time at the Novaliches District Hospital in Quezon City.
Ceremonies for the opening of the center, the 46th in the country, was attended by Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte and Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, who had introduced the Malasakit Centers as the closest aide of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Go, who handed over a P5 million check to the hospital, said the establishment of the Malasakit Center at the Novaliches hospital was part of Duterte’s health care program.
Go said under a memo of agreement with the Office of the President, the funding and logistical support for the Malasakit Center would be separate from the usual financing that the hospital receives.
“It is a monthly budget, but it is subject to the auditing processes, it means they have to liquidate first before they will be given funds,” he added.
Malasakit Centers are one-stop shops at hospitals that give patients access to government offices needed in their hospital transactions. Inside the centers are satellite offices of the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
These agencies provide financial and medical assistance to indigent patients.
Go also proposed to institutionalize these centers, despite opposition from lawmakers like Rep. Edcel Lagman, who said that the Malasakit Centers are merely a “partisan political tool”.
“That’s why we have to institutionalize Malasakit Centers right now, because other Malasakit Centers are being put up” by other local government units “on their own initiative,” said Go.
He cited a center “set up by the people” in Isabela. “We don’t want this project patch by patch without support from government agencies,” Go said.
The bill that would make Malasakit Centers permanent fixtures in hospitals is now in the period of interpellation at the Senate, he said. He said he hoped it would be passed by the chamber by November or December.
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