THE House of Representatives, through viva voce voting, has approved recently on a second reading House Bill 6571, which seeks to establish a medical scholarship program to address the shortages of physicians in the country.
Zamboanga City District 1 Representative Celso Lobregat, who is one of the authors of H.B. 6571, said the bill seeks to provide institutional mechanism for the envisioned sustained human resource development of the Philippine public health care system.
Lobregat noted that the government has acknowledged the reality that indeed, the country is facing an alarming shortage of physicians, and other medical professionals.
Lobregat said medical courses in the country are too costly that it has become beyond the reach of Filipino families even those belonging to the higher middle income class.
“To make this problem even worse is the fact that doctors are already taking up nursing and leaving the country for more lucrative jobs overseas,” he said.
H. B. 6571 or the proposed “Medical Scholarship and Return Service Program Act” mandates the establishment of a medical scholarship and return service program for deserving students in State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) or in private higher education institutions (PHEIs) in regions where there are no SUCs offering medical courses.
The scholarship program shall accept at least one scholar from each municipality of the country and that only upon determination that there is no qualified applicant from a certain municipality shall another qualified applicant be considered, irrespective of domicile.
The number of scholars per province or municipality shall depend on the number of government doctors needed for each province or municipality as determined by the Department of Health.
The scholarship program grants the following financial assistance: Free tuition and other school fees; Allowance for prescribed books, supplies and equipment; Clothing or uniform allowance; Allowance for dormitory or boarding house accommodation; Transportation allowance; Internship fees, including financial assistance during post-graduate internship; Medical board review fees; Annual medical insurance; and Other education-related miscellaneous or living allowances. (Bong Garcia)