GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- The national government has allotted an initial PHP5 million as financial assistance to poor patients from this city and neighboring areas through the newly-opened Malasakit Center here.
Former Special Assistant to the President and senatorial aspirant Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said Monday the funds will be mainly used to ensure that poor or indigent patients in the area will get proper medical care.
He said the funding came from the office of President Rodrigo Duterte, which spearheads the program.
"That is the initial budget. It will be properly liquidated and replenished later on to accommodate more patients," he told reporters following the launch of the Malasakit Center at the city government-run Dr. Jorge P. Royeca Hospital.
The center was formally unveiled on Monday by Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino and city officials led by Mayor Ronnel Rivera.
Dino turned over a check worth PHP5 million to set off the operationalization of the Malasakit Center.
The Malasakit Center, a “personal advocacy” of Go, is a “one-stop shop” where indigent patients can seek financial assistance from various government agencies.
These comprise the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., Philippine Health Insurance Corp., and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
Go said the center will augment the assistance that will be provided by these agencies to patients.
"The remaining requirement will be shouldered by the Malasakit Center to facilitate zero balance in the hospital bills," he said.
Go, who headed the project when he was still working as special assistant to the President, said an express lane will be put up at the center here for senior citizens.
Rivera lauded the opening of the Malasakit Center at the city hospital compound, which is the 22nd in the entire country.
He said it complements the city government's efforts to provide for the needs of indigent patients and improvement of the Dr. Jorge P. Royeca Hospital.
The local government launched last year an enhanced social services program, dubbed Auxiliaries and Medical Program for Individuals and Needy Generals (Amping), which grants financial assistance amounting to as much as PHP10,000 to poor residents.
"This is really a big help to our residents," added Rivera, who committed to provide the necessary assistance for the operations of the Malasakit Center. (PNA)