The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has urged local government units (LGUs) to promote the use of Malasakit Centers to bring the government’s medical and health services closer to the communities and the people, especially amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
“Sa gitna nitong pandemya (In the midst of the pandemic), it is important that the people know that their health and welfare remain to be the priority of the government. Kaya naman hinihikayat natin ang mga LGU na ipaalam sa mga tao kung paano makatutulong ang Malasakit Centers sa kanilang mga kababayan (This is why we encourage our LGUs to inform our people how Malasakit Centers could help them),” Interior Secretary Eduardo M. Año said in a news release on Wednesday.
A Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop for medical and health assistance established in all Department of Health (DOH) hospitals and the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) through Republic Act (RA) 11463 or the Malasakit Center Act.
As of Oct. 30, 2021, there are 80 Malasakit Centers in Luzon, 37 in Mindanao, and 29 in the Visayas.
Año said Malasakit Centers offer Filipinos convenience in addressing their medical and health concerns, hence, LGUs and barangays must take steps in informing the people of their existence and advantages.
“Sa panahon ngayon, napakahalaga na pangalagaan ang ating kalusugan. Sa tulong ng mga Malasakit Center, may karamay at kasangga ang mga mamamayan sa kanilang pangangailangang medikal at pangkalusugan (At this time, it is very important to take care of our health. With the help of the Malasakit Center, our people have partners to help them with their medical needs),” he said.
Through DILG Memorandum Circular 2021-138, Año directed punong barangays, city and municipal mayors, and provincial governors to advocate access to Malasakit Centers and lead in various information campaigns in their localities.
He enjoined punong barangays to organize advocacy activities to increase the awareness of the community and inform them how they could take advantage of the health services offered by the government in Malasakit Centers.
They are likewise directed to mobilize other barangay officials and functionaries in the conduct of the advocacy campaign; print Malasakit Center information and advocacy materials and post and hang them on conspicuous places within the barangay; and collaborate and seek necessary assistance from the city and municipal governments.
“Magsisimula ito sa ating mga pinuno sa mga barangay (This will start with our village chiefs). We trust that they will take this opportunity para maiparating sa mga kabarangay nila ang mabuting dulot ng mga center na ito para sa ating mga kababayan (to convey to their constituents the benefits of these centers),” Año said.
Meanwhile, the DILG chief reminded mayors to assist their component barangays in carrying out the information drive in their respective jurisdictions.
They may likewise post advocacy materials, Año said, and monitor barangay compliance with the DILG circular.
Provincial governments may also extend support to the barangays and their component cities and municipalities in executing their information campaigns.
Malasakit Centers of LGUs
Meanwhile, Año said city and municipal LGUs may establish their own Malasakit Center “so long as it is in compliance with the standards and criteria set under Section 6 (f) of the Malasakit Center Act.”
The Act states that LGUs can establish a Malasakit Center if it can guarantee the availability of funds for its operations; ensure the adoption of the integrated people-centered health services, and comply with other requirements to be prescribed by the DOH regarding service capacity and capability, and location, among others.
Apart from the DOH, PGH, and LGUs, the DILG, Department of National Defense, Department of Justice, the Philippine National Police, and other public hospitals may also establish their own Malasakit Centers. (PR)