MANILA -- President Rodrigo R. Duterte will lead the unveiling of ‘Malasakit Center’ located inside the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City together with Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) General Manager Alexander Balutan and other government officials on Monday afternoon.

A Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop staffed by representatives from the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) and the PCSO where patients can avail of faster and effective processing of their financial/medical needs.

It seeks to simplify the process of getting help from government agencies, especially financial assistance for poor patients confined in government hospitals, without the need to go to different agencies for processing of documents.

“We are happy to be part of this noteworthy endeavour. PCSO has increased the daily financial assistance allocations for all PCSO offices, which process Individual Medical Assistance Program (IMAP) to provide more health and medical assistance nationwide,” Balutan said in a statement.

This one-stop shop is like the ‘At-Source-Ang-Processing’ (ASAP) desk installed by Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio in Davao City last year.

Among the government agencies included in the program are PCSO, PhilHealth, DSWD, DOH, and Philippine Gaming and Amusement Authority (PAGCOR).

ASAP desks were established with partner-hospitals wherein patients can easily process their request for financial assistance from PCSO with the help of a social worker assigned by the hospital management.

It was conceived in response to the growing number of individuals who seek assistance for health-related concerns to address the long queues and the long lead-time for interview.

The desks will cater exclusively to the respective hospitals' patients so they won’t need to appear at PCSO offices.

“We will be opening more branches in the provinces this year and also expand our ASAP desks with partner-hospitals in the provinces,” said Balutan.

At present, we have 88 approved ASAP desks, 57 of which are fully operational, while the remaining of 88 will be operating this year.

The agency has 63 branches across the country with the opening of eight new branches last year in the provinces of Lanao del Norte, Catanduanes, Sultan Kudarat, Eastern Samar, Biliran, Davao del Norte, and Ifugao.

The daily IMAP allocation for the PCSO extension office at the Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City had a 100-percent increase from P4 million to P8 million.

Southern Tagalog and Bicol Region posted a 161-percent increase from PHP1.5 million to PHP4.05 million, while the daily IMAP allocation of the Visayas rose to PHP3.2 million.

Northern and Central Luzon indicated a 144-percent increase, while Mindanao also increased its allocation to PHP1.75 million. (PNA)