Solons push for malasakit center

September 18, 2019
Yedda Marie K. Romualdez and Martin Romualdez
BASIC EDUCATION. Tingog Party List Rep. Yedda Marie K. Romualdez (left), with her husband Majority Leader and Leyte Rep.Martin Romualdez (right), delivers her sponsorship speech regarding their authored House Bill 1586 institutionalizing the alternative learning system in basic education for out-of-school children, youth and adults, person with disabilities, indigenous peoples, and other marginalized sectors of society, during the committee meeting on Basic Education and Culture at the House of Representatives. Photo by Ver Noveno

TO complement the Universal Healthcare Act, the House of Representatives is pushing for the immediate approval of the proposed Malasakit Program.

During its first meeting yesterday the House Committee on Health passed a substitute bill for the measures seeking to establish the Malasakit Program and institutionalize Malasakit Centers in hospitals nationwide.

With already 35 established in many provinces, the Malasakit Center was a pet project of Senator Bong Go which he started when he was Special Assistant to the President.

About 48 lawmakers led by Majority Leader Martin Romualdez filed measures seeking the establishment of Malasakit Centers which will provide medical and financial assistance to indigent patients.

Under the substitute bill, the Malasakit Program shall be established under the Department of Health (DOH).

The Malasakit Center shall serve as one-stop shop for medical and financial assistance, not covered by the PhilHealth benefits for indigent and financially incapacitated patients, to be provided by participating agencies such as DOH, Department of Social Welfare and Developmet (DSWD), Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) and Office of the President.

“Malasakit Center shall ensure that indigent will not incur out-of-pocket expenses, and that financially incapacitated patients will incur the least out-of-pocket expenses by making use of the various medical and financial assistance available for patients,” the substitute bill said.

The measure will also institutionalize Malasakit Centers in all the hospitals under the Department of Health to fulfill the objectives of the Malasakit Program.

Medical assistance covered under the bill include medical services not covered or paid for by PhilHealth or other financing sources, and will be used for laboratory, imaging and all other diagnostic procedures; drugs and medicines; supplies, orthopedic and assistive devices, prosthesis, blood and blood products; dental services, except those that are for aesthetic purpose and not medically indicated; medical and surgical procedures.

Among the authors are Tingog party-list Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez; Quezon Rep. Angelina Tan; Valenzuela City Rep. Weslie Gatchalian; Deputy Speaker Aurelio Gonzalez; Quezon Rep. David Suarez; AloNA party-list Rep. Anna Marie Villaraza-Suarez; ACT-CIS Reps. Eric Go Yap and Nina Taduran; Laguna Rep. Sol Aragones; and Ilocos Norte Rep. Ria Christina Farinas.