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House panel OKs bill institutionalizing Malasakit Centers

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

The House Committee on Health has approved the proposed measure that would institutionalize the one-stop shop Malasakit Centers in government hospitals.

The committee headed by Quezon Province Rep. Dr. Angelina Tan has approved the consolidated measures that would give Malasakit Centers annual allotment under the General Appropriations Act (GAA) during its deliberation on Wednesday.

Even those in the minority bloc didn’t oppose the proposed legislation.

Following its approval, the still unnumbered bill has been to referred to the plenary for second reading discussions.

The concept of Malasakit Center was initiated by Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go in 2017 when he was still the top presidential aide.

Under the proposal, all hospitals being managed by the Department of Health (DOH) will be mandated to establish Malasakit Centers where indigents patients would be able to access medical and financial programs from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

Opposition Cong. Edcel Lagman (Albay) earlier questioned the legal basis of PCSO for funding the Malasakit Centers in various areas in the country.

According to Lagman, Malasakit Center is just “political front and a partisan activity” of those who spearheaded the program.

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