It can often be a daunting task to provide either intense medical care or a stay in the hospital for oneself or somebody you care for. Money is always a significant stumbling block especially among the marginalized sectors of society, and sometimes even beyond. Then again, there are a number of government agencies that might be able to lend financial assistance in a pinch. The trouble is figuring out which they are, and where their offices might be located. In Davao City, the LGU has acted to ease the logistics of getting help from the government for medical aid by opening a one-stop-shop “Malasakit Center.”

As The Mindanao Times tells it, the Davao City local government inaugurated a Malasakit Center last Friday, January 29, at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC). The four-story building will house six offices that can cater to medical- and healthcare-related financial assistance, pretty much putting all relevant agencies under one roof to ensure easy access for patients and relatives needing help. The opening was presided over by Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, who sees the Malasakit Center as helping to lighten the financial burden for locals.

The SPMC Malasakit Center houses offices for providing financial aid under the Office of the President, “Lingap Para sa Mahirap,” Philhealth, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the Office of the First Congressional District Representative. There is also a Botika ng Bayan in the premises for accessible and affordable medicine. Both the Lingap and the Office of the President (OP) will have their services available 24 hours a day, with the other resident agencies being open for business from 8 AM to 5 PM.  The OP covered the budget of P44 million for the construction of the Malasakit Center, sourced from its Socio-Civic Fund.

On his speech at the opening, Sen. Go assured a much faster service from the consolidated one-stop-shop nature of the Malasakit Center, built under the auspices of President Rodrigo Duterte and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio. “In this building are the different government offices that can help you so that you will not have to pay anything,” the Senator declared. The Malasakit Center officer-in-charge Josephine Mitaran adds that their combined offices will be able to entertain financial requests from 300 clients a day on average.

Image from Davao City official website

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