/ 1 October 2020

THE STATE Medical Schools Alliance appealed to the Commission on Higher Education to continue the Cash Grant to Medical Students in State Universities and Colleges program to enable close to 2,000 students to pursue their medical courses.

The group said that no budget was allotted for the program this year.

“Under the memorandum by Commission on Higher and Education and Department of Budget and Management, all eligible students can opt to apply for a cash grant that will cover 100 percent of the tuition fee for that academic year.

However, the CGMS-SUCs have no allocation for the period of 2020-2021,” the alliance said.

CHED chief Prospero de Vera III explained that the budget scholarship grants for 1,789 medical students was affected by the budget cuts in the education sector.

The group called on Congress to provide funding for the program. They said that terminating it would be detrimental to students who are in pre-service training.

“We, the eight state universities and colleges, stand as one in calling for the continuation of this grant for the coming academic year 2020-2021 and its harmonization in the final version of the law on medical scholarship,” SMSA said.

“We are one with the state in its crusade for providing healthcare for all Filipinos. Let us not allow more Filipinos to fall for their demise. Let us work together towards free, accessible, and quality medical education,” it added.

Northern Samar 1st District Rep. Paul Daza has urged Congress  to restore the funding for the medical scholarship program, citing the need for doctors especially now that the country is facing a pandemic.

“No less than the Department of Health and the IATF projected that this year we would have a shortage of 4,000 doctors. It’s critical that we maintain the funding, the subsidy for medical students in the SUCs,” Daza said.

The position letter sent to CHED was  signed by officials of the Bicol University College of Medicine, Cagayan State University College of Medicine, Mariano Marcos State University College of Medicine, Mindanao State University College of Medicine, University of Northern Philippines College of Medicine, University of the Philippines School of Health Sciences College of Medicine, University of the Philippines-Manila School of Health Sciences College of Medicine, and West Visayas State University College of Medicine.