77th Malasakit Center opens in Guimaras
(The Philippine Star) - August 2, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s 77th Malasakit Center opened Thursday at the Dr. Catalino Gallego Nava Provincial Hospital in Guimaras island with Sen. Bong Go virtually joining the launch.

In his message, Go recalled that the “malasakit” concept stemmed from previous experiences where some elderly in Mindanao would travel to Davao City, where President Duterte previously served as mayor, to ask for help with their hospital bills and medications.

“We could not just close our eyes. We have to look for ways to help. So, when he (Duterte) became President, I thought of establishing the Malasakit Center. Why do patients have to visit government offices? Why can’t we visit them instead? I said why don’t we just assign one hospital room where they could go and seek help?” Go said.

The recently opened facility in Guimaras is the fifth Malasakit Center in the Western Visayas region and the 20th in the Visayas.

A Malasakit Center simplifies the process of seeking help from agencies like the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corp. and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office as well as local government units, non-government organizations and private institutions and individuals.

Under Republic Act 11463, which Go authored, all hospitals run by the DOH and the Philippine General Hospital in Manila are mandated to establish their own Malasakit Center.

The senator vowed that any Filipino, especially the needy, can rely on the services of the Malasakit Center to easily access the various medical and financial assistance programs of the government that are available to them.

Go, who chairs the Senate health committee, also vowed to continue pushing for measures that protect and promote the welfare of health workers as he commended the implementation of the Supreme Court decision increasing the minimum salary grade of government nurses, 18 years after the law providing for the increase was enacted.

He also commended the Department of Budget and Management for issuing Budget Circular 2020-4 last July 17 to implement Section 32 of Republic Act 9173 or the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002, which raises the minimum monthly base pay of entry-level nurses. It is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2020.

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