PH government to allot P6B for health care, Malasakit Centers in 2020

The Philippine government through the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) will allot PHP6 billion for the Universal Health Care (UHC) program and Malasakit Centers next year.

“Nagagalak kami na ipaalam na effective next year, 100 percent we support the (Universal Health Care). May pondo. [We are glad to inform that effective next year, we are giving 100 percent support to the Universal Health Care. There are funds for that],” PCSO General Manager Royina Marzan-Garma told reporters in a press briefing in Mandaluyong City on December 18, 2019.

Following the enactment of the law establishing Malasakit Centers, the PCSO allotted PHP3.1 billion for these centers.

“Since the Malasakit (Centers) Act is now a law, the hospital partners will be present in Malasakit Center. We allotted funds for that, PHP3.1 billion na pwedeng ma-access ng ating kababayan (which the public can access) through Malasakit Center,” she stressed.

“Yan ang magiging direction ng PCSO next year, ito po ay naaayon sa charter [That will be the direction of the PCSO next year and it was based on the charter],” she added.

Earlier this month, President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday night signed into law a bill seeking to establish Malasakit Centers in all hospitals run by the Department of Health (DOH) across the country.

Currently, there are over 50 Malasakit Centers nationwide.

Meanwhile, the fund for the UHC came from the estimated and projected sales of the PCSO, Garma said.

However, Garma said PCSO’s medical assistance program would be limited since a large part of its revenue would be given to UHC.

“Since we are giving a certain amount for UHC, there will be a limitation for the medical assistance program. It will focus on catastrophic (cases), like (chemotherapy) and dialysis,” Garma explained.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the UHC law February this year to ensure that every Filipino, including overseas Filipino workers, are eligible to preventive, promotive, curative, rehabilitative, and palliative care.

Under the law, all Filipino citizens are automatically enrolled into the government’s health insurance program.

Members who have the capacity to pay are considered direct contributors while the indigents and senior citizens are categorized as indirect contributors and are sponsored by the government.

Next year, PCSO General Manager said the agency is targeting to generate PHP52 billion.

“Our mandate is to generate funds for charity so we will focus on raising more funds for next year,” she said.

She added that 40 percent of the funds that they generate will go to the Universal Health Care to support the PhilHealth insurance of indigents and for the procurement of medical transport vehicles.

Garma said the PCSO will introducing more games in 2020 at the same time will also strengthen their campaign to only patronize legitimate number games.

She added their focus next year will be on sales and marketing in order to generate more funds to support more government projects.

Crucial to the plan, she said, is the opening of more provincial branches throughout the country next year. For this purpose, she said they have already started hiring employees for the planned expansion.

Garma said they are currently reviewing the fees and the process in franchise applications to streamline their system.

“The process is complicated and in order to comply with the directive of the President relative to “ease of doing business,” we need to remove other unnecessary requirements and reduce the cash bond needed in the opening of the lotto outlet,” she said.

The PCSO serves as the principal government agency for raising and providing funds for health programs, medical assistance and services, and charities of national character.

The Individual Medical Assistance Program (IMAP) is considered the flagship program of the PCSO which was institutionalized in 1995 to provide timely and responsive financial assistance to individuals with health-related problems.

Aside from the IMAP, the PCSO’s other charity programs include the Endowment Fund Program, Institutional Partnership Program, Procurement of Medical Equipment, AFP/PNP Health Facilities Capability Building Project, Calamity Assistance Program, Milk Feeding Program, Integrated Health for Overall Productivity and Empowerment (I-HOPE), and Out-Patient Services Program (Medical and Dental Services), among others.

Garma urged the public to keep on patronizing the products of PCSO as a large chunk of its revenue goes to charity programs. (Christopher Lloyd Caliwan, PNA)