MANILA - Minority Sen. Risa Hontiveros has suggested to change the name of Malasakit Centers, a pet project of Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, to reflect its functions.
During Tuesday’s interpellations of Go’s bill seeking to institutionalize Malasakit Centers, Hontiveros proposed that the name of the centers include the term “Kalusugan” (health).
Malasakit Centers serve as a one-stop shop for indigent patients seeking government assistance. Each center houses representatives from various government agencies such as the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and the Philippine Health Insurance Corp.
To date, there are at least 41 Malasakit Centers around the country.
“Given the enhanced functions of the center, which now go beyond medical and financial assistance… would the sponsor, again at the proper time, be amenable to including the word ‘kalusugan’ as in ‘Kalusugan at Malasakit Center?'” Hontiveros said during her interpellation of Go’s proposed measure.
Go said he was willing to discuss Hontiveros’ proposal but noted that people were already used to the term “Malasakit Center.” He said changing the name at this point might confuse people.
“We use ‘malasakit’ (compassion) because in the centers we show ‘malasakit’ to patients and the families needing assistance. Tulad nga nung unang panahon, Masagana 99 (Just like in earlier years, Masagana 99),” Go said, referring to rice program of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Malasakit Centers derived its name from the campaign catchphrase “Tapang at Malasakit” (courage and compassion) of President Rodrigo Duterte.
If Go’s bill is passed into law, the Malasakit Centers would outlive Duterte’s presidency.
Go earlier scoffed at Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman’s statement that the Malasakit Centers have become a “partisan tool.”