MORE than five years after assuming the top political post of the land, President Rodrigo Duterte has not shown any sign of backing off from his commitment to meet the medical needs of the people.
In fact, the Duterte presidency, which ends at 12 noon on June 30, 2022, continues to establish “Malasakit Centers (MCs) in all Department of Health-operated hospitals across the Philippines.
Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” T. Go is chief architect of the “Malasakit Center” program. There are now 133 MCs in various parts of the country.
The latest MCs were established in Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur in Mindanao and Catanduanes in the Bicol Region.
A “Malasakit Center” is a one-stop-shop in state-owned medical institutions, where indigent patients can effectively access financial and medical assistance from concerned agencies and offices.
They include the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Under Republic Act (RA) 11463, otherwise known as the “Malasakit Center Act,” it is the declared policy of the government to improve the delivery of health care services to the people.
Likewise, government authorities ought to ensure access to and efficiency in the process of availing medical and financial assistance to fund health services.
After President Duterte’s signing of RA No. 11463, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said the legislation reflects the Chief Executive’s brand of people-centered service delivery.
The health secretary from vote-rich Pangasinan said people needing medical assistance, notably the poor, will be treated with compassion, dignity, respect and malasakit.