CITY OF MATI, DAVAO ORIENTAL — Patients seeking medical and financial assistance will no longer endure the burden of queuing up for aid in offices scattered across various locations here as the provision of assistance has now been made more convenient and accessible through the recently launched Malasakit Center in the province.
No less than Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go together with Governor Nelson Dayanghirang and other officials led the launching of the country’s 86th Malasakit Center on Friday, October 9, 2020, at the Davao Oriental Provincial Medical Center.
“If sa una, mupila daily, karon isa ka adlaw lang tapos na ang proseso ug dili na sila kinahanglan magpalaboy. (Unlike before when they [patient’s watcher] queue daily in different offices, now, with the Malasakit Center, the processing of financial assistance can be done in just one day,” said Senator Go.
Established through Republic Act No. 11463 or the Malasakit Center Act of 2019, the Malasakit Center is a one-stop-shop that hosts under one roof all government agencies with programs for medical and financial assistance.
Senator Go, who authored and sponsored the landmark law, said that the Malasakit Center is for all the Filipino people, particularly the poor and indigent patients. He stressed that everyone will be served at the Malasakit Center regardless of political inclinations. “Walay pulitika sa Malasakit Center. (There is no politics at the Malasakit Center),” he said, adding that it will even serve the members of the Communist-Terrorist group New People’s Army “as they are our fellow Filipinos as well.”
During the launching ceremony, Senator Go turned over to the Malasakit Center a replenishable fund of P5 million from the Office of the President. For his part, Senator Go, added a one-time allocation of P10 million to the facility through the Medical Assistance to Indigent Patients Program.
Senator Go says that the Malasakit Center is purposely established to bring down to the lowest amount possible, if not zero-balance, the hospital bill, including out-of-pocket expenditures, of particularly poor and indigent Filipinos. “Ang importante walay mabalibadan nga pasyente kay mao na ang pinakasakit. (The most important thing is that no patient will be denied (of financial assistance) because that is the most painful thing of all,” he said.
“Ang importante walay mabalibadan nga pasyente kay mao na ang pinakasakit“
The Malasakit Center, which was first conceptualized in Davao City during President Rodrigo Duterte’s stint as city mayor, has now been institutionalized in the whole country with the establishment of 73 Malasakit Centers in all DOH-run hospital and provincial hospitals that passed the criteria for its establishment.
Provincial Health Officer II Dr. Reden Bersaldo said the launching of the Malasakit Center here is very timely especially “in the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic which has further intensified the need to establish a one-stop-shop where all of these can be addressed.”
He added that the establishment of the Malasakit Center is a welcome development amid the large number of patients being catered by the province daily. And with the DOPMC, being the largest health facility in Davao Oriental which has a bed occupancy rate surging to almost 400 percent, the additional aid from the government will certainly give respite to the local government’s coffers.
For his part, Davao Oriental Governor Nelson Dayanghirang, lauded the Office of the President and Senator Go as their assistance will greatly help ease the financial burden of health care costs on patients and their families.
He said this welcome development has motivated his administration, even more, to provide the best health care for his constituents. “We will not hesitate to spend on the health of our people. Thus, we continue to invest in programs and projects to support the achievement of our health priorities,” said Governor Dayanghirang.
On top of its many new health programs, the provincial government has also invested in health infrastructure and services including the renovation of the fully air-conditioned emergency room, the renovation of all of the hospital’s four Intensive Care Units, new diagnostic tests such as the operationalization of the 2d echo, and the new orthopedic services, among many others.
The operation of the Malasakit Center is set to start on Monday, October 12.
Agencies and offices that are set to provide assistance at the center are the Department of Health (DoH), Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, Provincial Governor’s Office, Vice Governor’s Office, the first and second district Congressional offices, and the City of Mati’s LINGAP.
Also present during the historic launching are First District Representative Cong. Corazon Malanyaon, Second District Representative Cong. Joel Mayo Almario, Vice Governor Niño Uy, and City of Mati Mayor Michelle Rabat, among other officials. By Karen Lou Deloso/Photos by Eden Jhan Licayan