Special Assistant to the President Bong Go recently led the opening of the first “Malasakit Center” for Metro Manila at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).
The center is a program of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte and is aimed at serving as a one stop shop to hasten the delivery of medical services and give poor patients access to free medicines.
During its launch at the PGH in Manila, Go urged patients and their families to take full advantage of the program, which aims to help beneficiaries have a “zero balance” on their medical expenses. It also prioritizes senior citizens and persons with disabilities.
The government, Go said, has allocated a P100 million replenishable fund for the program.
“Ang funds po ni President Duterte, yun po ang magpapa-zero balance sa billing, funds po ito, inyo po ito hindi po namin inaangkin ito na pera namin, pera po ito ng gobyerno na binabalik lang po ni Pangulong Duterte sa inyo, ayusin lang po natin ang paggamit ng perang ito (The funds from President Duterte will help in getting a zero balance billing. These are your funds. We are not claiming these as ours. These are government funds which President Duterte returns to you. Let’s properly use these funds),” the palace official said.
“These are government funds which President Duterte returns to you. Let’s properly use these funds.”
“Sa mga pasyente po i-avail nyo ito, pera nyo po ito kapag naubos dadagdagan ulit (To our dear patients, avail of these funds. These are yours and if it is depleted, we will replenish it),” he added.
“To our dear patients, avail of these funds. These are yours and if it is depleted, we will replenish it.”
The launch in Manila brings to five the total number of Malasakit Centers in the Philippines. Of the five, three are in the Visayas — one at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Center in Cebu City, another at the Western Visayas Medical Center in Iloilo City, and one at the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center in Tacloban City. Davao City in Mindanao has one center.
The government is set to launch two more Malasakit Centers in Maasin in Southern Leyte and Dumaguete in Negros Oriental.
Under the program, patients are assisted in availing themselves of the services and financial assistance provided by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), the Philippine Amusement and Games Corporation (PAGCOR), and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Also present during the launch are Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, and PGH officials headed by Dr. Gerardo Legazpi among others.