Duterte signs Malasakit Center Act

Robie de Guzman   •   December 4, 2019   •   588

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signs the Postponement of the 2020 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections Act and the Malasakit Center Act during a ceremony at the Malacañan Palace on December 3, 2019. TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a measure seeking to institutionalize the establishment of Malasakit centers in all hospitals run by the Department of Health (DOH) across the country.

Duterte signed the Republic Act 11463 in a ceremony held in Malacañang Tuesday night, but a copy of the law is yet to be released.

Under the law, Malasakit Centers will serve as one-stop shop for medical and financial assistance provided by the DOH, Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office in more than 70 DOH-run hospitals nationwide.

Its functions also include providing indigent patients with referral to the health care provider networks as well as information on membership, coverage and benefit packages in the National Health Insurance Program.

However, these centers are not meant to provide additional funds for assistance since government agencies run their own medical and financial assistance programs.

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go expressed gratitude and hailed the enactment of the law he authored and sponsored.

The law was a pet project of Go, former top aide of Duterte.

The DOH, for its part, welcomed the signing of the measure which is seen to ease the process of granting financial medical assistance to impoverished patients.

“The long lines and tedious processes for availment of financial medical assistance will be things of the past,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement.

He also said that the establishment of Malasakit centers complements the implementation of the country’s Universal Health Care Program. The DOH said that there are now a total of 74 Malasakit Centers established nationwide with 45 centers in DOH hospitals, 28 in LGU-operated hospitals, and one in the Philippine General Hospital. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte fires OCD Deputy Administrator Kristoffer James Purisima

Marje Pelayo   •   May 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has dismissed Kristoffer James Purisima as deputy administrator assistant secretary of the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD).

According to Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, the President decided to remove Purisima from office due to “loss of trust and confidence.”

Roque could not tell, however, under what circumstance prompted the President to fire Purisima.

Wala na po akong ibang impormasyon (I don’t have additional information) other than he was terminated due to loss of trust and confidence,” Roque confirmed.

The OCD is the government’s main unit responsible for disaster preparedness and response in times of calamity.

Prior to his position in OCD, Purisima served as spokesperson of Task Force Bangon Marawi. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte warns of return to strict quarantine restrictions if COVID-19 crisis worsens

Marje Pelayo   •   May 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte reminds the public to heed government protocols for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis even after community quarantine has been relaxed. 

On May 16, Metro Manila shifted to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from enhanced community quarantine to help revive the Philippines’ crippled economy. 

But President Duterte stressed that such relaxation in restrictions doesn’t mean the country is free of COVID-19 and warned that the government might again tighten restrictions if situations get worse. 

“Remember this, the loosening of the restrictions does not mean [we’re COVID-free],” he said. 

“If the contamination will be as fast as before, and it will continue to infect yung nakalabas na (people who are allowed to go out), then we’ll have to just go back to original program,” he added. 

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque denied allegations that the government is not ready or has no policy for the conduct of COVID-19 mass testing. 

Roque stressed that the government in fact is now preparing to hit the target of 30,000 a day testing capacity by the end of May. 

“From the very beginning, we have had a systematic targeted testing at sa tingin po natin ang sinusunod natin ay benchmark recognized internationally specifically by the WHO,” the Palace Spokesperson said in defense against against critics who are questioning the government’s advice of letting private companies shoulder COVID-19 testing for their respective workers who are returning to work. 

Roque added that the government is targeting to test around 1.5% to 2% of the more than 100 million Filipinos for COVID-19 infection and clarified on what is referred to as ‘mass testing.’

“Ang tawag po dapat ay expanded targeted testing,” he said. 

READ: Phl conducting ‘expanded’ targeted testing, not mass testing vs COVID-19 – DOH

“Wala pong bansa sa buong mundo na ang lahat ng mga mamamayan nito (ay tine-test) kaya nga po mali ang terminong mass testing,” he concluded. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte on short visit to Davao City — Palace

Marje Pelayo   •   May 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte travelled to Davao City on Friday (May 15) to visit his family.

The President opted to stay in Metro Manila in the past two months to focus on his work amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak and due to tight restrictions under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). 

Aside from family visit, the President intended to check on the situation in Mindanao relative to the health crisis.

“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is now in Davao City to visit his family whom he has not seen in months and to assess the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation in Mindanao,” Roque said. 

The Palace spokesman assured, however, that the President will be present in the scheduled meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 on Tuesday (May 19). 

“Rest assured that he will be back in Malacañang in time for the next IATF briefing,’ Roque concluded. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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