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26th ‘Malasakit Center’ opens for indigent patients at QMC

Quezon Gov. David ‘Jayjay’ Suarez (right, in green) and Sec. Michael Lloyd Diño (left, in long sleeves shirt) presidential assistant for Visayas, lead the inauguration of the 26th Malasakit Center at the Quezon Medical Center in Lucena city. (JOHN BELLO) 
by John A. Bello

LUCENA CITY - The health services sector in Quezon province has been enhanced with the establishment at the Quezon Medical Center (QMC) here of a Malasakit Center, a one-stop shop financial and medical assistance program of various national government agencies under the Office of the President designed to assist indigent medical patients all over the country.

A P5 Million start-up operational fund was turned over by Sec. Michael Lloyd Diño, presidential assistant for Visayas, to Quezon Gov. David ‘Jayjay’ Suarez during the inauguration of the center on Thursday here which was attended by QMC director Dr. Rolando Padre and provincial government department heads led by provincial administrator Roberto Gajo.

“With the establishment of this Malasakit Center under the office of the president, indigent medical patients of Quezon province will be assured of zero balance billing aided by our own allied programs under Serbisyong Suarez sa Kalusugan and Alona Partylist’s health services to its constituents,” said Suarez who disclosed that 4 other such center will be set up in Infanta, Catanuan, Gumaca and Candelaria, all located separately in the province’ 4 districts.

Suarez said the P5 Million Malasakit fund will insure the immediate operation of the center and will be replenished monthly by the Office of the President.

The inauguration of the Malasakit Center, located at the Administrative Division at QMC, coincided with the groundbreaking of the CT-Scan and MRI building at the back of the hospital.

QMC is a 200-bed capacity public hospital which is usually swamped by over 800 patients, mostly poorest of the poor, in any given day from all over the province’ 29 municipalities and 2 cities.

Diño said the Malasakit Center at QMC is the 26th to have been established all over the country and up to 100,000 indigent patients are being given assistance monthly costing about P300 million for the convergence of services given by Phil. Charity Sweepstakes Office, Phil. Amusement and Gaming Corp., Dept. of Health, Philhealth and Dept. of Social Welfare and Services all acting as one to alleviate the financial and medical burden of the poor patients.

The establishment of Malasakit Center has been the initiative of Special Assistant to the President, Sec. Christopher ‘Bong’ Go who is now running as senator of the administration for the midterm May 13 polls.

Asked about the absence of Go at the inauguration of his pet project here, Suarez said Go is trying to distance himself from allegations that he is using public funds for his senatorial campaign and has told him to go ahead with the inauguration as needy patients of the province cannot wait until after the elections for the assistance extended by the center.

During a senior citizens Christmas party in San Andres town last Dec. Go has vowed the establishment of Malasakit Center in Quezon within 2 to 3 months.