/ 26 September 2023

SENATE Majority Leader Joel Villanueva said that the passage of the bills creating five additional medical schools will help mitigate the shortage of doctors and address future health needs of Filipinos, especially in the regions.

With more schools producing doctors and by making quality medicine courses affordable and accessible to the students, Villanueva is optimistic that the Philippines will be closer to achieving the ideal ratio prescribed by the World Health Organization of 10 doctors per 10,000 population.

“Marami pong nangangarap maging doktor pero walang pampaaral. Kailangang bigyan daan po ng gobyerno na maabot ang pangarap ng ating mga kabataang kapos ngunit may kakayahan,” he said.

Through Republic Act 11509 or the Doktor Para Sa Bayan Act, which Villanueva principally sponsored and authored, 17 State Universities and Colleges in 13 regions now offer courses under their College of Medicine, from eight SUCs in seven regions prior to the passage of the law.

Under the law, each region must have at least one SUC offering medical education within five years from the effectivity of the Act.

It also seeks to produce more physicians by offering qualified students free tuition, book, living and other allowances.

The law requires the scholars to serve in public health facilities for at least one year for every scholarship year availed.

“When we passed the Doktor Para Sa Bayan Law, we did not aim only to have more scholars, but also to increase the number of SUCs that will offer medical courses, and this is what we are pursuing now,” Villanueva said.