MANILA -- The House of Representatives on Monday approved a measure seeking to institutionalize the establishment of Malasakit Centers in all Department of Health (DOH) hospitals nationwide.

House Bill 5477 was approved with 185 affirmative votes, one negative vote, and seven abstentions.

Under the measure, the Malasakit Centers shall serve as one-stop shops that expedite processes in availing medical and financial assistance relevant to the health care needs of indigent and financially-incapacitated patients.

These centers house various government agencies that offer health care financing aid particularly the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), among others.

A Malasakit Program shall also be formulated to complement these centers, as well as the implementation of the Universal Health Care law.

The Senate has already approved its own version of the bill on third and final reading last week.

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, main author and sponsor of Senate Bill 1076, said the Malasakit Center is one of the solutions the Duterte administration has developed to provide quick and quality access to health care to all Filipinos regardless of their age, sex, ethnic background, religion, and political affiliation.

“With the Malasakit Center act in place to complement the Universal Health Care law, we are a step closer towards making quality health care more accessible and affordable for all Filipinos, especially the indigent and poor patients in need of medical assistance from the government,” Go said. (PNA)