MANILA -- Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar on Friday welcomed the Senate's approval of a bill seeking the establishment of a Malasakit Center in hospitals run by the Department of Health (DOH) nationwide.

In a statement, Andanar said institutionalizing Malasakit Centers in DOH-accredited hospitals would give Filipinos easier and better access to government medical assistance.

"We welcome the Senate’s approval of Senate Bill No. 1076 that seeks to institutionalize and establish Malasakit Centers in all Department of Health (DOH) hospitals," he said. "Once passed into law, the Malasakit Center Act will make it easier for the millions of Filipinos who seek assistance from the DOH, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), as it can all be done in a ‘one-stop shop'."

The Senate on Monday approved on third and final reading Senate Bill (SB) 1076, which intends to establish Malasakit Centers in all DOH-run hospitals, in a bid to improve the delivery of health care services to the Filipino people.

Under SB 1076, a Malasakit Center will serve as a "one-stop shop" for medical and financial assistance.

The bill provides that a Malasakit Center should be "non-partisan, convenient, free of charge, (and) accessible." It should also have a standard system on how to avail of assistance.

It also allows the establishment of Malasakit Centers in hospitals run by local government units, state universities and colleges, the Department of National Defense, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Department of Justice, and other public hospitals.

Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go, the main author and sponsor of the law, said the creation of a Malasakit Center is one of the Duterte administration's efforts to give Filipinos "more accessible and affordable" health care.

Andanar lauded Go and all the senators for their swift approval of the proposed measure.

"We commend Senator Bong Go and the whole Senate for the quick and unanimous approval of this Bill," he said. "This is just part of the administration’s commitment to provide accessible assistance and health care to all Filipinos in need."

A version of the proposed measure at the House of Representatives was approved on second reading on Wednesday. (PNA)