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Duterte signs Malasakit Center law

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday signed a law that seeks to establish Malasakit Centers in all hospitals run by the Department of Health nationwide.

Duterte signed Republic Act 11463 in a ceremony held in Malacañang.

Sponsored by Duterte’s former aide, Senator Christopher "Bong" Go, the law intends to reduce the out-of-pocket expenditures of indigent and poor patients including non-medical expenses.

The Malasakit Centers would serve as one-stop shop for all medical and financial assistance to indigent and poor patients, putting in one center all government agencies presently involved in providing these kinds of assistance.

Malasakit Centers would also serve as health care processing centers for patient assistance and referral to provide much-needed system support for patient navigation under the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law.

At present, there are 52 Malasakit Centers established nationwide.

Albay Representative Edcel Lagman, an opposition lawmaker, was the lone congressman who voted against the measure last month, arguing that institutionalizing Malasakit Centers would not erase their "partisan origin" because these allegedly aided Go's Senate run this year.

Lagman also said that the Malasakit Centers duplicated some of the functions being performed by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation and the DOH. —LDF, GMA News