Senate Approves: Sotto's "Doktor Para Sa Bayan" on third reading today.
September 14, 2020 05:41 PM
Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto's Senate Bill #1 entitled "Doktor Para sa Bayan Act" has passed the third reading at the Senate today. The Bill aims to establish medical scholarships for deserving students in the country.
“Ang medicine proper and law proper, hindi kasama sa free tertiary education natin. That is why itong bill na ito, gusto nating isama ang medicine proper na libre para sa Pilipino. Basta dapat Pilipino, gusto mong maging doktor, gagawin ka naming doktor, gobyerno dapat ang gagawa noon..”
The bill intends to ensure that every town in the country has access to quality healthcare by having at least one doctor in their location. ‘Doktor Para sa Bayan Act’ takes part to promote social justice by means of expanding access to quality education and opportunities for underprivileged individuals.
Natural-born or Naturalized Filipino citizens residing in the Philippines, whose family income is insufficient to support their child's medical education are qualified for the scholarship.
Before the proper admission, applicants must also pass the National Medical Admission Test required by the medical schools. Municipalities with no government physicians shall be prioritized in the allocation of slots to ensure the assignment of one (1) doctor for every town in the country.
The Medical Scholarship and Return Service Program (MSRSP) shall cover the student's tuition, laboratory, miscellaneous, and other related school expenses such as books, supplies, and equipment, uniforms, transportation allowances, and even housing accommodations.
After graduating and passing the licensure exams required for physicians, the scholars must accomplish the mandatory return service agreement by serving his hometown or any other underserved municipalities identified by the Department of Health as a priority area - one year for every scholarship year that has been availed of.
If not, the scholar will be required to pay the full cost of the availed scholarship, including benefits and other related expenses.
In addition, this act seeks to establish the creation of state universities and colleges in the Philippines offering a college of medicine program. Currently, the country only has nine available public medical schools.
The bill is set for a bicameral conference committee meeting to further discuss the disagreeing provisions before ratifying the report for the President's final signature.
The discussion of this bill has become very timely as the need for more medical workers in the country is our number priority especially as we battle the Covid-19 pandemic.