Recto questions funding gap for PMA cadets, med scholars

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Friday, March 21, 2014


IF THE government can spend P2.8 million for each graduate of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), Senator Ralph Recto said it can also increase the scholarship fund for aspiring doctors under the "Pinoy MD Program."

The Pinoy MD Program, a scholarship fund administered by the Department of Health (DOH) was allocated a budget of P57.5 million for this year while the PMA has a budget of P594 million.

Recto noted that the PMA budget will go up to P775 million, once P175 million in Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund and P5 million in retirement and life insurance premiums are added to it.

"If we're spending this much for training soldiers to be good in surgical strikes, then we might as well spend near that amount in training people who are good in surgery," the senator said.

From 2010 to 2013, the PMA got P2.438 billion in appropriations from the National Government, while producing a total of 862 graduates, or at a per graduate cost of P2.8 million.

A PMA cadet gets a basic monthly pay of P27,425 plus P6,300 in allowances as a Probationary 2nd Lieutenant on top of their free education, and board and lodging.

Scholars under the Pinoy MD program, however, receives only about P12,000 a month in tuition assistance, and other school fees.

"Hopefully this figure can inspire a readjustment of Pinoy MD scholarship benefits. The cost of training people who'll keep us safe must not be far behind from what it costs to train the people who’ll keep us healthy,” he said.

"Many bright students have the brains and the heart to become good doctors but poverty is what’s keeping them from realizing their dreams," Recto noted.

Recto said the government must start producing a "long white line" of doctors as it had done the same for the "long grey line," which PMA alumni and cadets are collectively referred to.

In 2010, there were only 2,682 government doctors to serve a population of 92.3 million. (Sunnex)

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