Families of poor and indigent patients when hospitalized would often go to different offices situated in different locations all over the country to seek medical and financial assistance. As a result, the available funds they received is spent mostly on their transportation, aside from the stress traveling back and forth may cause them. Hence, creating a one stop shop simplifying the process.
The possibility of putting all government agencies providing various medical and financial assistance under one roof, to be housed in selected hospitals in the country, was discussed by then Special Assistant, now Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte sometime in 2017. The first Malasakit Center was built in Vicente Sotto Medical Center in Cebu. Currently, there are 85 Malasakit Centers nationwide assisting Filipinos in a more efficient way.
The 85th Malasakit Center was launched at the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) in Mandaluyong City last 02 October 2020. This is the first Malasakit Center in the City of Mandaluyong, and NCMH is the first Mental Health hospital to have a Malasakit Center.
NCMH is a specialty psychiatric hospital under the Department of Health. To date, it houses almost 3,000 patients, not to mention the daily patients in NCMH Out Patient Service. With the Malasakit Center, patients of NCMH will benefit the most. They now have access to more quality hospital service from their confinement until their discharge. Their pharmacotherapy will be sustained via the medicine assistance which the Malasakit Center can provide. Having maintenance medication can reduce the chance of relapse among the patients.
The program started in the morning, with the blessing of the new Malasakit Center officiated by Fr. Celso Alcantara, a resident priest of the hospital, followed by the ribbon cutting attended by some of the hospital officials.
In the afternoon, the unveiling of the Malasakit Center marker opened up the program, facilitated by no less than Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Kuya Bong” Go, alongside Mayor Menchie Abalos of the City of Mandaluyong, Presidential Assistant to the Visayas Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino, NCMH Medical Center Chief II Dr. Noel Reyes, and representative from different partner agencies that includes, Usec. Aimee Torrefranca-Neri of the Department of Social Welfare and Development-Central Office, Director Angela Del Mundo of DOH Malasakit Program, and Ms. Juliet Aseo, Assistant General Manager of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
Senator “Bong” Go, during his speech, firmly sent a message about setting aside political interest and instead focusing on working with compassion for everyone, especially those who are made vulnerable by COVID-19 pandemic. He emphasized that “Lahat pwede, basta Filipino.” (Every Filipino can avail of the assistance through Malasakit Center).
Sen. Bong Go also presented a check to NCMH amounting to five (5) million pesos to the Malasakit Fund for the operation of Malasakit Center. This amount is to be replenished every month.
It was indeed a successful launching. True to its name Malasakit Center, NCMH will continue to give patients a quality service with great “Malasakit”. Malasakit Center that is a one-stop shop for patients and relatives seeking medical and financial assistance.
Other present guests during the launching were Congressman Neptali “Boyet” Gonzales II, Health Sec. Francisco Duque III, DSWD-NCR Regional Director Vicente Gregorio V. Tomas, National Project Head of Malasakit Center Girlie Veloso, Director of DOH-NCR Dr. Corazon I. Flores, Assistant Executive Secretary of ODESFA Jone Rechie Gigayon, Commissioner Greco Belgica of Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), Dr. Emily Detaro of City Health Office, Local Government Unit of Mandaluyong City, Mr. Phillip Salvador, and Dr. Maria Paz Corales, Assistant Regional Director of DOH-NCR, and some of the employees of National Center for Mental Health among the other guests and representative.
NCMH Malasakit Center is headed by the Chief of Medical Social Service Section, Mr. Jhomel P. Cabuang, together with him are the representatives of each partner agencies representatives comprises of Mr. Jaymart Pertimos, DSWD Malasakit Center Representative; Ms. Dianne May Paywan, Department of Health (DoH) Malasakit Center Representative; Ms. Febelyn De Guzman, Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) Malasakit Center Representative; Ms. Jo Anne Bertuldes, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) Malasakit Center Representative; and Ms. Ma. Ricarlyna Tamayo-Bale, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) Malasakit Center Representative.
Each Malasakit Center Representative will help in the process of facilitation and approval of various type of assistance needed by the patient and their relatives.