The country’s 19th Malasakit Center, located at the Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City, was opened on Monday. The center’s launch was led by former Special Assistant to the President (SAP) and current senatorial candidate Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go.
The initiative is a project of the Office of the President (OP) in coordination with the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), the Department of Health (DOH, PhilHealth, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development. While serving as SAP, Go spearheaded the program and established centers across the country.
Malasakit Centers serve as one-stop shops for healthcare. Patients can avail of free check-ups and medications. Coordination between different government agencies, all of which has desks or offices housed within each center, help to push the medical bills of patients down to the lowest possible cost. According to Go, the centers would complement the Universal Health Care (UHC) Bill once its signed into law, providing patients with a fallback plan in case their health coverage under UHC is lacking.
The Center in Quezon City is the 19th to be launched. Within the last few months, centers have been established in Bulacan, Tacloban, Palawan, and Negros Oriental. A 20th will be unveiled in Batangas on January 8.
Speaking at Monday’s launch, Go assured that the administration is dedicated to the program and will continue to establish more Malasakit Centers nationwide.
“Tuloy-tuloy po itong programang ito, wala po kaming limit as long as kaya ng gobyerno ang mag lagay ng Malasakit Center sa mga ospital (The program is continuous, there is no limit as long as the government can place Malasakit Centers in hospitals),” said Go in an interview on Monday.
In 2018, the program was allocated a P100-million replenishable fund by the OP.
Go reported that the establishment of centers in Bataan, Siquijor, Ormoc, Catbalogan, Guimaras, and Antique is ongoing, pending coordination with several stakeholders.