The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved on second reading a measure seeking to grant full scholarships to deserving medical students to address the shortage of doctors in the country.
The lower chamber approved through voice voting House Bill 6756, which 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 none of the SUCs are offering a medical course.
At least one scholar from each municipality in the country shall be accepted. If there is no qualified applicant from a certain municipality, another qualified applicant shall be considered.
The financial assistance granted to scholars include free tuition and other school fees; allowance for prescribed books, supplies and equipment; clothing allowance; dormitory allowance; transportation allowance; internship fees; medical board review fees; and annual medical insurance; among others.
The mandatory return service upon integration into the public health and medical service system shall be for at least four to six years for those who have availed of a four-year program, and seven years for those who have availed of the five-year program.
A medical student may lose the scholarship and shall pay the full cost of the scholarship and related benefits if he or she accepts another scholarship; fails to meet the academic requirements, or fails to pass the licensure examination for the second time.
Amedical student who fails or refuses to serve in a government hospital or any local health office in the scholar’s hometown or any underserved municipality shall be required to pay twice the full cost of the scholarship including other benefits and expenses incurred.
In case of non-payment, the PRC shall deny the renewal of the physician’s license. (PNA)