/ 8 April 2021

TO ADDRESS the need for more medical practitioners, the Ilocos Norte government sponsored 12 medical students for Academic Year 2020-2021.

“They are the first batch of medical scholars who are currently enrolled at the state-run Mariano Marcos State University College of Medicine. Four of them are in first year, three in the second year, two in third year and three are in the fourth year,” Dr. Danny Daquioag, education consultant of Ilocos Norte, said.

Daquioag said the number of medical scholars is expected to increase next school year.

Under the medical scholarship program, each beneficiary is entitled to free tuition and miscellaneous fees. Scholars also get a P5,000 monthly stipend for the whole academic year.

In return, beneficiaries will serve in a government hospital in the province equivalent to the number of years that they were medical scholars once they become doctors.

In 2019, Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc included the medical scholarship in the provincial scholarship programs to produce more homegrown doctors.

The initial slots for the medical scholarship program prioritized the third and fourth-year students who are residents of Ilocos Norte.

“The first batch of medical scholars was presented to the provincial lawmakers during their outdoor session at the La Tabacalera Center just beside the provincial Capitol building,” board member Saul Lazo, chairperson of the committee on education, said.

“One of the 12 scholars identified as Aira Cassandra Castro from Barangay 15 San Guillermo, Laoag City is a candidate for cum laude. Like in the previous year, the barely five-year-old Ilocos Norte medical school posted a 100 percent passing rate in the recently concluded Physician Licensure Examination. One of its five examinees, Dr. Jaymee Borja Quindara, placed ninth overall,” he added.