Issue of November 10, 2019
Mt. Province
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CAR opens 1st malasakit center
by Ofelia C. Empian

SUBMERGED -- Communities in several towns in Apayao province were submerged by flash flood brought about by swelling of rivers due to Typhoon Quiel. More than 200 families were affected by flash floods. -- Contributed photo

Indigent patients from Baguio and neighboring areas will further be serviced with the formal launching of the Malasakit Center at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, Nov. 7. 

The Malasakit Center, which is the one-stop shop for financial assistance, is the first in the Cordillera and the 50th center established in the country. 

Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go ,along with Health Usec. Roger Tong-an, Presidential Assistant for Visayas Secretary Michael Dino, and BGHMC Chief Ricardo Ruñez, led the opening rites that was also attended by officials led by Mayor Benjamin Magalong and Rep. Marquez Go and Benguet Gov. Melchor Diclas.

Go said the center aims to hasten the service for the medical needs of indigent patients. 

He said patients or their representatives will only need to go to the Malasakit Center and fill out a unified form. Senior citizens and persons with disability will be accommodated in a priority lane.

“Iyong apat na ahensiya ng gobyerno ang tutulong sa inyo at kung may balanse pa, at meron pang pondo, zero balance po ang target natin dito. Para po ito sa indigent patients, para hindi po sila palaboy-laboy pa d’yan sa iba pang opisina para humingi ng tulong,” Go said.  

The agencies with medical assistance programs available in Malasakit Centers are the PhilHealth, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Health, and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

Ruñez said the Malasakit Center is a huge relief for indigent patients who are usually hard up in paying for their medical bills.

“They have to be evaluated by the social worker, para naman hindi maabuso iyong talagang deserving. Sila talaga ang qualified para makakuha ng malasakit funds,” Ruñez said.

Dino and Go also turned over a check for P5 million courtesy of the Office of the President to Ruñez for the initial funding of the Malasakit Center.

Go said additional P5M will be given to the BGHMC once the initial funding is used up.

Go added Senate Bill 1076 seeks to establish Malasakit Centers in all DOH-run hospitals throughout the country. The bill, which is already on its third reading, aims to set criteria for the putting up of Malasakit Centers even in local government units.

Go said Diclas, a medical doctor by profession, also signified his intention to put up a center at the Benguet General Hospital, which is currently run by the provincial government.

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