February 3, 2023

The Lower House has approved on third and final reading House Bill 6756 that would provide medical scholarship to deserving students in every town in the country.
Known as the “Medical Scholarship and Return Service Program Act”, the bill will address the shortage of physicians and help aspiring doctors fulfill their dream of serving Filipinos recover from illnesses in the future.
Benguet legislative caretaker Rep. Eric Yap, principal author, said the support of Congress is a tremendous step towards addressing the shortage of medical doctors in the country.
He cited the 2016 data from the Department of Health wherein the doctor-to-patient ratio stands at one is to 33,000, which is far below the global average of one doctor is to 6,600 patients.
“This may be caused in part by education expenses and overseas migration. The costs of becoming a doctor are already challenging enough, so wanting to earn back what was spent during years of study and training seems logical,” Yap said.
If passed into law, the scholarship program shall accept at least one scholar from each municipality in the country. These scholars can choose to study in either public or private medical school.
If no applicant from a particular town passes, another student from a neighboring municipality would be considered for the slot.
The scholars, once they complete their degrees and become licensed physicians, are also required to serve their own hometowns in either a government hospital or public health office for at least four years or equivalent to every scholarship year.
“From our consultations with our kababayan in Benguet, especially those in remote areas, the available doctor from their community is kilometers away. Having experienced this challenge firsthand, some of them want to be doctors to attend to the medical needs of their communities,” he said.
Yap said anyone could apply to the scholarship program regardless of their background.
“Through this program, they will be given the opportunity to pursue their dreams and give back through the return service clause of this measure,” he said.
The scholars who would receive a four-year scholarship have six years to finish the mandatory service program, while those who would enroll in a five-year course have seven years to complete their return service. – Ofelia Empian