Senator Bong Go, chair of the Senate health committee, reminded Filipinos not to neglect their medical needs because of the expenses involved.
Instead, he strongly encouraged indigent and financially incapacitated patients to seek government assistance for their medical bills by visiting the nearest Malasakit Center in their area.
“Ano ba ang kwalipikasyon sa Malasakit Center? Basta Pilipino, poor and indigent patient ka, qualified ka. Inyo ito, walang pinipili ang Malasakit Center,” Go said during a television interview on Saturday, December 5.
The Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop in which Filipino patients can conveniently avail medical assistance from the relevant government agencies, namely the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
“Kakabukas lang natin kahapon ng 94th na Malasakit Center diyan sa San Fernando City, La Union.…Sa ngayon mahigit 1.8 million na ang natulungan. Mayroon na tayong 49 sa Luzon, 23 sa Mindanao at 22 sa Visayas at tuloy-tuloy ang pagbubukas dahil batas na ito,” said Go.
On December 3, 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act 11463, otherwise known as the “Malasakit Centers Act of 2019”, which directs the establishment of a Malasakit Center in every DOH-run hospital throughout the country as well as the Philippine General Hospital in Manila.
Other public hospitals may also establish their own centers, provided that they meet the criteria to guarantee sustainability of its operations.
Go reassured patients that government assistance is available to them should they seek it.
“Nandito po ang inyong gobyerno. Lapitan niyo lang ang Malasakit Center. Kami ni Pangulong Duterte sa abot ng aming makakaya ay tutulong kami sa inyo,” he said
“Huwag kayong mawalan ng pag-asa, ‘wag kayong mag-atubiling lumapit sa amin dahil trabaho po namin ang magserbisyo sa inyo at ‘wag kayo magpasalamat sa amin. Tutulungan namin kayo sa abot ng aming makakaya,” he added.