MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a measure seeking to institutionalize the establishment of Malasakit centers in all hospitals run by the Department of Health (DOH) across the country.
Duterte signed the Republic Act 11463 in a ceremony held in Malacañang Tuesday night, but a copy of the law is yet to be released.
Under the law, Malasakit Centers will serve as one-stop shop for medical and financial assistance provided by the DOH, Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office in more than 70 DOH-run hospitals nationwide.
Its functions also include providing indigent patients with referral to the health care provider networks as well as information on membership, coverage and benefit packages in the National Health Insurance Program.
However, these centers are not meant to provide additional funds for assistance since government agencies run their own medical and financial assistance programs.
Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go expressed gratitude and hailed the enactment of the law he authored and sponsored.
The law was a pet project of Go, former top aide of Duterte.
The DOH, for its part, welcomed the signing of the measure which is seen to ease the process of granting financial medical assistance to impoverished patients.
“The long lines and tedious processes for availment of financial medical assistance will be things of the past,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement.
He also said that the establishment of Malasakit centers complements the implementation of the country’s Universal Health Care Program. The DOH said that there are now a total of 74 Malasakit Centers established nationwide with 45 centers in DOH hospitals, 28 in LGU-operated hospitals, and one in the Philippine General Hospital. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)