Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Sec. Michael Lloyd Dino has been designated by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to take charge of all the Malasakit centers in the entire country.
“Secretary Dino was assigned hy the President to roll out Malasakit centers, nationwide,” Titus Borromeo, the spokesman of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) told reporters in a press briefing last Thursday.
Girlie Veloso, the OPAV Malasakit Center focal person, who is its Executive Assistant, explained Dino’s assigned task by the President.
“He (Dino) is the Malasakit head na, additional responsibility,” Veloso said.
As the Malasakit Center head, part of Dino’s function is to be around when a new one is opened.
He was scheduled to be in Pangasinan yesterday, Friday, to be among the government officials who will be present in opening a new Malasakit Center in the area.
To be the 24th, the Pangasinan Malasakit Center will be in the Region 1 Medical Center (R1MC) in Dagupan City.
According to Veloso, additional 47 Malasakit Centers will be opened this year.
The concept of Malasakit Center is actually the brainchild of President Duterte himself when the President was still Davao City Mayor, Veloso revealed.
It was called “Lingap sa Bayan”, which later on became “Pagkalinga sa Bayan” when Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte succeded her father.
It was former Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go who called it “Malasakit Center”, where the first center was opened in Cebu’s Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC).
In a month, an average of 100,000 patients around the country has been benefited by the Malasakit Centers, 20, 000 of them in Cebu.
Each patient is entitled to a P50,000 (fifty thousand pesos) non-cash assistance to shoulder hospitalization and medical bills through a funding coming directly from the President’s Social Fund.
As the capped amount is P50, 000 per admission, patients availing of the benefits of Malasakit Centers, is expected to have zero-billing during their discharge from the hospital.
The Malasakit Center is also for the comfort of making its beneficiaries not doing the hassles of going into the offices of government agencies anymore to seek assistance, serving it as “one stop shop” for them right inside the hospital where the patient is admitted.
As projected by Veloso, availment of the benefits of the Malasakit Center is expected to increase with the signing of Pres. Duterte into law of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act making all Filipinos as automatic Philhealth members.
Even if one is not paying a Philhealth contribution, Philhealth membership is already assured as the contribution will now be shouldered by the government.
Of the existing Malasakit Centers, 7 are in the Visayas, 9 in Luzon, the rest are spread over in Mindanao.
Sec. Dino was largely credited in designing the VSSMC facility who also got the commitment then of his high school mates that formed the Sacred Heart School Batch 85 Foundation.
The foundation initially funded the facility as a dry run was first conducted before Pres. Duterte inaugurated it in February last year.