MANY Filipinos still die without seeing a medical doctor due to grinding poverty and lack of
physicians in the Philippines, particularly in the countryside where majority of the poor live.
Today, the least one can do is just hope that our medical doctors, particularly graduates of
state universities and colleges (SUCs), are not tempted to seek employment overseas.
That’s why we commend the House of Representatives for passing on third and final reading a
proposed legislation that seeks to address the lack of medical doctors in the Philippines.
House Bill (HB) No. 6571 or the “Medical Scholarship and Return Service Program Act” seeks to
provide scholarships to poor but deserving students aspiring to become medical doctors.
Among other things, the bill calls for the establishment of a Medical Scholarship and Return
Service Program in SUCs or in private higher education institutions (PHEIs) in regions where there are
no SUCs offering medical course.
The program shall accept at least one scholar from each municipality throughout the country.
But the total number of scholars shall depend on the number of government physicians needed by
the province or municipality, as determined by the Department of Health (DoH).
A scholar receives the following benefits: free tuition and other fees; allowance for
prescribed books, supplies, and equipment; clothing allowance; dormitory or boarding house allowance;
transportation allowance; and internship/medical board review fees.
Among the authors of HB 6571 are Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas,
Reps. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Vilma Santos-Recto, Alfred Vargas, John Marvin Nieto, Karlo Alexei
Nograles, Jocelyn Limkaichong, Celso Lobregat, Rosemarie Arenas, Leopoldo Bataoil, Ben Evardone, Joey
Salceda and Sherwin Tugna.
We cannot overemphasize the importance of hastening the approval of HB 6571 considering the
continued shortage of medical doctors in the country, particularly in far-flung communities.
The Filipino people expect the government, through the two-chamber Congress, to deliver on its