The Senate on Monday passed on third and final reading a proposed measure seeking to institutionalize the establishment of Malasakit Centers in all Department of Health (DOH) hospitals nationwide and at the Philippine General Hospital.
Senate Bill 1076 was approved with a vote of 18-0 with no abstentions.
The bill aims to consolidate the assistance provided by the DOH, Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office under one roof so patients would no longer have to endure long lines in different agencies to ask for aid.
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, the main author and sponsor of the bill, thanked his colleagues for fully supporting the immediate passage of SB 1076.
The neophyte senator said the Malasakit Center is one of the solutions the Duterte administration has developed to provide quick and quality access to health care to all Filipinos regardless of their age, sex, ethnic background, religion, and political affiliation.
“With the Malasakit Center act in place to complement the Universal Health Care law, we are a step closer towards making quality health care more accessible and affordable for all Filipinos, especially the indigent and poor patients in need of medical assistance from the government,” he said.
“Pera niyo po ito, ibinabalik lang sa inyo sa pamamagitan ng mabilis, maayos at maasahang serbisyong medikal para sa lahat ng Pilipino (This is your money that is just being returned by means of speedy, orderly and dependable medical service for all Filipinos),” Go said.
Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto also lauded the speedy approval of SB 1076, saying the Malasakit concept is commendable for bringing financial and medical help to the people instead of the people chasing after them.
“The creation of Malasakit Centers in DOH-run hospitals and at the PGH is one step in helping our people raise the financial resources for the medical care of their loved ones,” he said.
“Malasakit Centers will not totally do away with out of pocket medical expenses but these gateways to assistance tell the people that their government is here to help,” Recto added.
Besides institutionalizing the establishment of Malasakit Centers in DOH-run hospitals and in the PGH, SB 1076 also provides that hospitals run by Local Government Unites (LGUs) and other public hospitals may also establish their own Malasakit Centers.
Patients who would be admitted to LGU and other public hospitals but are eligible for medical and financial assistance could also seek assistance from the Malasakit Centers in DOH-run hospitals. (Jose Cielito Reganit, PNA)