MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a measure seeking to institutionalize the establishment of Malasakit centers in all hospitals run by the Department of Health (DOH) across the country.
Duterte signed the Republic Act 11463 in a ceremony held in Malacañang Tuesday night, but a copy of the law is yet to be released.
Under the law, Malasakit Centers will serve as one-stop shop for medical and financial assistance provided by the DOH, Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office in more than 70 DOH-run hospitals nationwide.
Its functions also include providing indigent patients with referral to the health care provider networks as well as information on membership, coverage and benefit packages in the National Health Insurance Program.
However, these centers are not meant to provide additional funds for assistance since government agencies run their own medical and financial assistance programs.
Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go expressed gratitude and hailed the enactment of the law he authored and sponsored.
The law was a pet project of Go, former top aide of Duterte.
The DOH, for its part, welcomed the signing of the measure which is seen to ease the process of granting financial medical assistance to impoverished patients.
“The long lines and tedious processes for availment of financial medical assistance will be things of the past,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement.
He also said that the establishment of Malasakit centers complements the implementation of the country’s Universal Health Care Program. The DOH said that there are now a total of 74 Malasakit Centers established nationwide with 45 centers in DOH hospitals, 28 in LGU-operated hospitals, and one in the Philippine General Hospital. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said he will appoint Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa as the next police chief.
Duterte made the announcement during a speech in Davao City.
The president said he would formally designate Gamboa as the next PNP chief after they meet with Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año.
Duterte earlier asked Año to supervise the police force until he has chosen its next chief.
“We have the PNP chief. I’m going to appoint you as the regular PNP [chief]. But […] you and Secretary Año and I will have a long, long talk first,” he said addressing Gamboa in his speech.
“Pinakita mo sa akin ‘yung sincerity mo and I’d like you to leave something that you will be remembered by the country,” he added
Gamboa, who was in the event, acknowledged Duterte’s remarks by standing up and giving a salute.
Gamboa was designated as PNP OIC after former chief Oscar Albayalde stepped down in October over allegations that he protected some police officers tagged as ‘ninja cops’ for their involvement in the selling or recycling of illegal drugs seized from an operation in Pampanga in 2013.
Albayalde was the chief of Pampanga police when the operation was conducted.
In a statement, the PNP welcomed Duterte’s pronouncement of Gamboa’s appointment.
“The PNP welcomes the pronouncement of Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte to appoint PNP OIC PLTGEN. Archie Francisco Gamboa as the regular PNP Chief,” the statement read.
“Under the able leadership of PLtGen Gamboa, we assure the public that the PNP remains committed to intensify the campaign against criminality, illegal drugs and corruption, following the rule of law and with utmost respect for human rights, and vigorously pursue internal cleansing to weed the ranks of rogue cops, all towards winning back the trust and confidence of the people,” it added.
In a separate statement, Año also welcomed Gamboa’s designation as the next PNP chief.
“He is very qualified for the job. I expect that he will work harder now that he is the permanent Chief PNP and lead the organization in its intensified fight against illegal drugs, criminalities, communist terrorist groups and extremists,” Año said.
“I also expect that he would continue to cleanse the PNP ranks of scalawags,” he added.
He also called on the entire police force to support Gamboa, enforce the law and fulfill their mandate “to serve and protect the people.”
MANILA, Philippines – The total deployment ban of Filipino workers to Kuwait will remain in effect until the labor agreement signed in 2018 between the two countries is fully implemented, Malacañang said Friday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the labor department’s call for a total ban on deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) to Kuwait following the killing of household service worker Jeanelyn Villavende.
“The Palace wishes to inform the public that President Duterte has approved the recommendation of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III on the total deployment ban of Filipino workers in Kuwait,” Panelo said.
He added that the ban will stay until the memorandum of agreement between the two countries is fully honored and “the terms contained therein are incorporated in every labor contract with our OFWs.”
Bello earlier said he recommended a total deployment ban to Kuwait after results of a re-autopsy by the National Bureau of Investigation revealed that Villavende had several missing internal organs and had “clear indications of sexual abuse.”
The re-autopsy was conducted after a certificate released by Kuwait’s Ministry of Health showed that Villavende died of “acute failure of heart and respiration” as a result of shock and multiple injuries.
In a statement on Thursday, Bello said the implementation of a total deployment ban of workers was fueled by the alleged attempt of the Kuwaiti government “to cover-up the true case of death” of Villavende.
He said the re-autopsy on the Filipino worker’s remains was in complete contrast to the report of the Kuwaiti authorities.
Bello also said that another cause for the ban was the failure of the Kuwaiti government to come into an agreement regarding the standard employment contract in accordance with the Memorandum of Agreement in 2018.
“Under the MOU, we were supposed to come up with a standard employment contract in order to provide sufficient protection for our OFWs. That’s almost two years ago of discussing and debating but until now, we have not finalized anything,” Bello said.
The total ban covers the processing and deployment of all household service workers, semi-skilled, skilled workers and professionals including Filipino crew seafarers for Kuwait.
However, skilled workers and professionals who have unexpired contracts or categorized as Balik-Manggagawa, and those who will be cleared by the Secretary of Labor are exempted from the ban.
“Those who will come home for a vacation and has an existing contract are still allowed to travel to Kuwait, however, workers with new contracts will be covered by the ban. This move is nothing less than for the protection of our workers,” Bello said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)
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