Malasakit Center bill to benefit millions, says Andanar

Published November 15, 2019, 3:50 PM

by Rica Arevalo

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar hailed the Senate’s approval of a bill that seeks to institutionalize and establish Malasakit Centers in all Department of Health (DOH) hospitals, saying it could potentially benefit millions of Filipinos.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar (PCOO/ MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar (PCOO/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Andanar was referring to Senate Bill (SB) No. 1076, which senators passed on third and final reading via 18-0 (yes-no) vote last Monday.

In a statement, Andanar said the measure will make quality health care more accessible and affordable for all Filipinos.

“Once passed into law, the Malasakit Center Act will make it easier for the millions of Filipinos who seek assistance from the DOH, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), as it can all be done in a ‘one-stop shop,'” he said.

The former broadcaster lauded President Rodrigo Duterte’s long-time aide Senator Bong Go who authored the bill.

“We commend Senator Bong Go and the whole Senate for the quick and unanimous approval of this Bill. This is just part of the administration’s commitment to provide accessible assistance and health care to all Filipinos in need,” Andanar said.

Go was accused of using the existing Malasakit Centers to promote his senatorial run during the May 2019 polls. There are currently 50 centers around the country.

Last Wednesday, Go’s bill breezed through second reading approval at the House of Representatives when the legislators took just two hours to pass the measure.

House Bill (HB) No. 5477 provides for nearly P300 million in the budget. It also provides for the creation of a centralized office to process and allocate financial assistance from the PCSO, DOH, DSWD and other state agencies that grant such service.

One of the proposed functions of the Malasakit Centers is to give patients referrals to health care provider networks. It also seeks to provide information regarding membership, coverage, and benefit packages of the National Health Insurance Program.