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Marcos creates help desk for requests for financial, medical assistance

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. directed the creation of a Presidential Help Desk, which aims to address the financial and medical requests for assistance being submitted to the Office of the President (OP).

Executive Order No. 20 states that the Presidential Help Desk will "complement the existing health services and projects of the government by providing accessible and direct financial and medical assistance to qualified beneficiaries."

“The Presidential Help Desk shall be administered by the PACe (Presidential Action Center). For this purpose, there shall be a Project Coordinator, directly reporting to the PACe, tasked to ensure that the day-to-day implementation of the project is managed effectively, efficiently, and economically, and oversee the operational activities of the project, including the performance by all employees and personnel of their respective functions,” the EO said.

The creation of the help desk aims to address the overwhelming number of requests for financial and medical assistance submitted to the OP.

Through the Office of the Executive Secretary, the PACe will submit to the President an annual report on the operations of the Presidential Help Desk.

Meanwhile, the head of the PACe will determine the appropriate staffing pattern and corresponding qualification standards for all the positions necessary for the operation of the Presidential Help Desk.

“For this purpose, the PACe, in coordination with the Office of the Deputy Executive Secretary for Finance and Administration, shall submit to the Department of Budget and Management, for review and approval, a proposal on the integration of the Presidential Help Desk into the overall organizational structure and staffing pattern of the PACe,” the EO said.

According to EO No. 20, the funds necessary for the operations of the Presidential Help Desk will be charged to the appropriate funding sources under the OP.

The Presidential Communications Office said that during the first six months of the Marcos administration, the OP received a total of 52,728 action documents from the public, 20.08% of which are related to medical concerns such as requests for medicines or financial aid "to defray costs of medical procedures and hospital bills."

During the Duterte administration, a law was enacted to have Malasakit centers in all hospitals run by the Department of Health nationwide was signed.

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

The Presidential Communications Office has yet to respond on how the new help desk and Malasakit centers related to each other.  —NB, GMA Integrated News