By Keith Calayag
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman on Friday questioned the basis of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office’s (PCSO) funding for the Malasakit Centers, a one-stop shop where poor patients can apply for medical assistance from the PCSO and other government agencies.
“This Malasakit Center is a new being, I think there should be a legal basis for you to fund this Malasakit Center,” Lagman told PCSO General Manager Royina Garma during the House committee on appropriations’ deliberation on the 2020 budget.
He added: “Kindly make a thorough validation and investigation of the operations of these Malasakit Centers because it is like a political partisan activity.”
Garma clarified that the PCSO is not funding the center but the clients who ask for medical assistance to “streamline the services of all government institutions providing medical assistance.”
“We don’t give the fund to the center,” she said.
“It is a one stop shop in place sa hospital so we don’t want our clients to go to our branches and to ask for assistance… So we have people there to assist in the documents and these are referred pa rin po, charged to our IMAP,” she added referring to the Individual Medical Assistance Program of PCSO.
Lagman asked PCSO to furnish the House appropriations panel the documents containing the legal basis for the funding.
Deputy Majority Floor Leader and House Appropriations Committee Vice Chairperson Juan Miguel Arroyo backed Lagman’s move and directed Garma to comply.
The IMAP was allocated a budget of P8.68 billion in 2018. For the first semester of 2019, its allocation was P2.82 billion.
Senator Bong Go, the brainchild of Malasakit Centers, seeks to institutionalize the one-stop shop for medical assistance located in public hospitals through a bill he recently filed.
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