A MEASURE that seeks to grant medical scholarships to deserving students who aspire to become doctors is now a law.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law Republic Act (RA) 11509, also known as the Medical Scholarship and Return Service (MSRS) Program Act, or the Doktor Para sa Bayan Act.
RA 11509 will establish a scholarship program that prioritizes qualified applicants from municipalities without government physicians.
Baguio City Representative Mark Go, one of the authors and chairman of the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education, said that under the new law, scholars are required to finish the Doctor of Medicine program within a prescribed timeframe and will serve in their hometowns in a return service program.
Go said the length of return service will be equivalent to the graduates' years under the scholarship grant.
The scholarship will cover tuition and other school fees, allowance for books, equipment and uniforms, dormitory and transportation costs, internship fees, as well as medical board review and licensure fees.
Scholars will also receive annual medical insurance and other education-related subsistence or living allowances.
"RA 11509 is a landmark law that is crucial in strengthening the country's healthcare system as it aims to produce at least one doctor for each municipality," Go said.
Go added the signing of the new law is a timely development, as the country continues to face the coronavirus disease pandemic.
Go, who also chairs the higher education committee, said that under the new law, medicine is no longer a far-fetched dream for underprivileged yet deserving students who wish to rise above their circumstances and serve their respective communities. (SunStar Baguio)