By Mario Casayuran
Lining up very early in the morning to file your petition for financial medical help from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) is now a thing of the past.
This was the assurance made on Friday by neophyte Senator Christopher Lawrence ’’Bong’’ Go who graced the opening of the 35th Malasakit Center in Siquijor in the Visayas.
Because of the establishment of the ‘’Malasakit Center,’’ Go said the petition or plea for financial medical help from the PCSO and other government agencies has been reduced from seven days to just one day, under a one-stop shop concept.
“Kung dati, isang linggo kayo pipila sa PCSO, PhilHealth, Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Ngayon po, isang araw lang at nasa iisang room na lang po, nandoon na po ang representative ng DOH, DSWD, PhilHealth at PCSO. It will complement the Universal Health Care,” Go explained. (It used to take a week that you line up before the offices of the PCSO, PhilHealth, DOH, DSWD. Now, it takes one day and in just one room. The representatives of these agencies are there.)
Go was joined by various national government officials led by Presidential Adviser for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino and local leaders in the opening of the Siquijor Malasakit Center.
Go expressed his pleasure towards the continuing growth of Malasakit Centers around the country – a vision he started only last year when he was still the former special assistant to the president.
“My promise has always been to go around each corner around the country and hear the needs of the Filipinos,” he said.
He explained that like the Malasakit Center that just opened in Siquijor, “there is still a lot of needed equipment for the hospital. If there’s money in the government, then we’ll use it to uplift the lives of our brothers and sisters. I will be a working senator and I am used to delivering service ‘ora mismo’.”
Ever since its first establishment in 2018 through the Office of the Special Assistant to the President, 34 Malasakit Centers have already helped and assisted thousands of Filipinos all over the country in their medical expenses.
Go said the service provided by this one-stop shop of all government agencies linked to providing financial assistance for Filipinos for their medical expenses in certain public hospitals has already given a good impression towards the future of healthcare in the country.
To complement the Universal Health Care Act which was recently approved by President Duterte, Go said he is targeting to institutionalize Malasakit Centers. In the bill filed this week entitled the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, it states that “there shall be a Malasakit Center in each DOH, LGU, DND, and SUC hospital in the country as a processing center for all Philhealth concerns regarding coverage, billing, health benefits packages, patient navigation and referral to the health care provider network, and one-stop shop medical assistance to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses of indigent and poor patients.”
After filing the bill together with the rest of his nine priority measures in the Senate, Go said that this was his promise to help alleviate the stress that hospitalization gives to sick Filipinos.
If he is given the chance to head the Senate health committee, Go said he plans to put up a center in all government and DOH-run hospitals.”
The senator conceded that the bill would raise some minor concerns in harmonizing with the Universal Health Care Act.
The most important thing is to provide Filipinos the right, fast, and efficient healthcare service, he added.