House okays medical scholarship bill

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La Trinidad, Benguet – The House of Representatives approved on third and final reading House Bill (HB) 6756 principally authored by Benguet Caretaker Congressman and Anti-Crime and Terrorism through Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) Party-list Rep. Eric Go Yap that will be known as the Medical Scholarship and Return Service Program Act of 2020.

Yap, who chairs the powerful House Committee on Appropriations, stated the approval of the proposed measure in the Lower House is a giant step towards addressing the shortage of medical professionals in the country.

Based on the 2016 data from the health department, the doctor-to-patient ratio stands at 1:33,000, far below the global average of 1:6,600.

The lawmaker noted that the lack of doctors in the country may be caused in part by education expenses and overseas migration.

He explained that the cost of becoming a full pledged doctor is already challenging enough and earning back what had been spent by the medical professionals during their years of study and trainings seem logical at this time.

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“Once enacted into law, the medical scholarship program shall accept at least one scholar from each municipality in the country to provide opportunities for deserving Filipinos who want to pursue medicine and serve the country and regardless of their background or their residence, they can apply to the said program,” Congressman Yap stressed.

He explained that in far flung villages in the country, it is not uncommon that some residents have never seen a doctor since birth, but now is the appropriate time since the government wants to provide accessible health care to the people in the countryside, especially now that the country is in the middle of a global pandemic.

Congressman Yap stipulated he has seen the immediate need to have doctors and other health care workers within reach of people.

From his consultations with the different stakeholders in the different parts of Benguet, especially those living in remote areas, Congressman Yap claimed that the available doctor in the community is kilometers away, and having personally experienced the aforesaid challenge, some of them want to be doctors to personally attend to the medical needs of their fellow residents.

Through the aforesaid program, Congressman Yap said that interested individuals will be given a chance to pursue their dreams of becoming doctors and give back through the return service clause of the measure.

The congressman said he will personally make the needed representations with Senator Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong’ Go, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, for the filing of its counterpart bill in the Senate for the same to be passed and signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte the soonest.

He expressed confidence that the approved House version of the proposed law will be acted upon by the Senate the soonest so that deserving Filipinos will be able to help in improving the country’s health care program.

By Hent

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