Fact checks on online scams

FACT CHECK: Malasakit Centers have no educational assistance program


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FACT CHECK: Malasakit Centers have no educational assistance program
The public is warned against fake social media posts that use a senator's identity to advertise fake educational assistance programs from Malasakit Centers

Claim: Malasakit Centers, the government’s one-stop shop for medical services, are offering educational assistance to all students.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: Fake graphics bearing the claim have been circulating on various Facebook pages and groups. Most of these posts originated from the page “Pinoy Ako” within the Facebook group “DSWD NEWS AND UPDATE,” which boasts of 460,700 members. As of writing, the post has garnered 195 reactions, 380 comments, and 12 shares.

According to the post, all currently enrolled students will receive cash assistance worth P6,000 after registering through the link provided in the caption. The graphics also feature the logo of the Malasakit Center and an image of Senator Bong Go, who is falsely quoted as saying:

“Hindi lamang may sakit ang aming tutulungan, maging ang mga nag-aaral ay bibigyan namin ng P6,000.00. Bawat isa sa kalagitnaan ng init ng panahon.” (Not only will we help those who are ill, but we will also give P6,000 to students. Each one in the midst of the hot weather.)

The facts: Malasakit Centers do not provide educational assistance to students. In a Facebook post on May 5, Go, the principal author and sponsor of Republic Act No. 11463, or the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019, warned the public against social media scams that misuse his image to falsely advertise government services.

“Mag-iingat po tayo sa mga kini-click na link sa social media dahil posible kayong maging biktima ng scam o ma-hijack ang inyong personal account. Huwag po tayong agad-agad na maniwala o magtiwala sa mga nakikita natin online,” he said. (Be cautious about the links on social media because you might become a victim of a scam or have your personal account hijacked. Let’s not immediately believe or trust everything we see online.)

Medical assistance provided: Malasakit Centers are one-stop hubs that aim to streamline access to health services by providing medical and financial assistance to patients unable to afford medical services in hospitals under the Department of Health (DOH).

The program consolidates the efforts of the DOH, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. Through the Malasakit Centers, patients can seek assistance from these agencies without having to leave hospital premises.


According to the DOH, the process of seeking medical assistance through the centers includes interviews and assessments by assigned social workers and the submission of required documents. 

“Indigent patients,” or those with “no visible means of income or whose income is insufficient for their family’s subsistence,” as well as “financially incapacitated” individuals “who are not classified as indigent but clearly cannot pay or spend for necessary expenditures for one’s medical treatment,” are eligible to receive assistance from Malasakit Centers.

The law mandating the establishment of Malasakit Centers in every government hospital was signed by former president Rodrigo Duterte in 2019. As of April 16, 2024, there are now 162 Malasakit Centers in the country.

Phishing risk: The link provided in the misleading Facebook posts also does not redirect to the official Malasakit Program Office site but to an unverified “Malasakit Center Cash Assistance” blog that asks for a user’s personal information, including their name, email, and phone number. Social media users who fill out the fake application form may fall victim to identity theft or phishing scams. (READ: Phishing 101: How to spot and avoid phishing)

In January, Rappler published a fact-check debunking a post claiming to be a “loan center” of the Malasakit Program Office. 

For legitimate information on Malasakit Centers, visit the official website of the DOH and the Malasakit Program Office. – Larry Chavez/Rappler.com

Larry Chavez is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. You may also report dubious claims to the #FactsFirstPH tipline by messaging Rappler on Facebook or Newsbreak via Twitter direct message. You may also report through our Viber fact check chatbot. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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