NEW LAW. President Rodrigo Duterte signs the Malasakit Center Act during a ceremony at the Malacañan Palace on December 3, 2019. Earlier, Senator Christopher "Bong" Go, the law's main author, said the Malasakit Center law is meant to complement the Universal Health Care Act. (Republic Act 1223). (Presidential Photo)

MANILA -- 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) nationwide.

Duterte signed Republic Act 11463 in a ceremony at the Rizal Hall in Malacañan Palace but a copy of the law has yet to be released to reporters.

Earlier, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, main author and sponsor of Senate Bill 1076, said Malasakit Centers are meant to provide quick and quality access to health care to all Filipinos.

He said the Malasakit Center law is meant to complement the Universal Health Care law (Republic Act 11223).

Under the law, a Malasakit Center serves as one-stop for easy access to medical and financial assistance needed to receive health care services.

However, the Malasakit Centers are not meant to provide additional funds for assistance since concerned government agencies retain and run their own medical and financial assistance programs.

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

The Senate approved Senate Bill 1076 on third and final reading with a vote of 18-0 with no abstentions on November 11.

On the other hand, the House of Representatives passed their version of the bill on third and final reading on November 18 with 185 affirmative votes, one negative vote, and seven abstentions.

Currently, there are over 50 Malasakit Centers nationwide serving over 200,000 patients every month. (PNA)