By Rodrigo S. Victoria
NAVAL, Biliran — The opening of more than 40 Malasakit Centers in the country is now in the pipeline, according to the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas in his message during the opening of the Malasakit Center here on March 18.
Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino said there are already 31 Malasakit Centers in the country which started in the Visayas, wherein eight centers were opened across the island.
In the morning of March 18, Dino graced the opening of the 31st Malasakit Center in Northern Samar and the 32nd Malasakit Center in Biliran later in the afternoon.
He further said the project has expanded to southern and northern regions of the country with 10 centers already opened in the key cities of Mindanao and another 13 presently operating in Luzon.
“To date, the Malasakit Centers is serving 100,000 patients with medical financial assistance worth P300 million every month in all the 31 centers to help the poor and underprivileged Filipinos,” Dino said.
He revealed that the concept of the Malasakit Center was suggested by former Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go to President Duterte to be adopted nationwide.
Dino added that the idea of the Malasakit Center originated in 2001 when President Duterte was still the mayor of Davao where he initiated the “Lingap para sa Mahirap” to provide medical and financial assistance to its constituents, which was placed inside Pagkalinga sa Bayan Center together with Philhealth, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) and was continued by his daughter Mayor Sara Duterte with the Pagkalinga sa Davao Project in 2017.
“The establishment of Malasakit Center was piloted in Cebu and was brought to a nationwide scale,” he said.
The Malasakti Center is a one-stop shop for all medical financial services where all government agencies which offer financial help related to hospitalization such as Philhelath, DSWD, and PCSO will now be under one roof so that patients will no longer spend time, money, and effort in going to these agencies for assistance.
A monthly Malasakit fund will be given to the hospital hosting the center to augment the services provided by Philhealth, DSWD and PCSO, he said.
Dino initially turned-over the P5 million check to Biliran Governor Gerardo J. Espina, Jr. and Dr. Joyce Pla-Caneja, Chief of the Biliran Provincial Hospital during the opening of the center.
He also assured that the P5M is a regular monthly fund allocation for the operation of the Biliran Malasakit Center. (LDL/RSV/PIA-8, Biliran)