Ched told to explain non-disbursement of 2018 medical scholarship fund
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Higher Education (Ched) should explain its non-disbursement of the P250-million subsidy for the tuition of medical students in state universities and colleges (SUCs) in 2018, House Deputy Speaker and Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman said Monday.
In its annual report, the Commission on Audit (COA) has flagged Ched for the underspending of its budget on vital educational projects that included the subsidy for medical students. In 2018, of the P250-million allotment for the program, only P55.87 million was obligated, but no actual disbursement was made.
“There were no actual disbursements made out of the obligated amount as of December 31, 2018,” State auditors said.
According to Ched, some of the student-grantees did not continue with the scholarship program and opted for a more comprehensive Medical Scholarship of the Department of Health.
Hataman still lamented the poor disbursement of the higher education agency, as he called for an increase in the number of government doctors in the newly established Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
“The municipalities, cities and provinces that make up BARMM are some of the poorest areas in our country today. And because of this, we also have some of the lowest doctor-to-patient ratios. Kaya mahirap lunukin ang katotohanan na may pondo para pag-aralin ang mga gustong mag-doktor pero walang naging iskolar noong 2018,” Hataman said in a statement.
“BARMM could use more Moro doctors. Sa lalawigan ko lang, marami ang gustong maging doktor pero hindi kaya dahil mataas ang matrikula at gastos sa pag-aaral ng medisina. I call on Ched to be proactive in seeking medical scholars who will stay in the barrios once they become doctors,” he added.
In 2011, the average of the doctor-to-patient ratio in then-ARMM is 1:45,224, with Basilan having a 1:58,664, according to figures from the Mindanao Development Authority and the Department of Health.
Recent data also showed that ARMM average is now at 1:45,197, with Basilan having at least seven doctors serving a population of 346,579. The national average is at 1:33,000.
Hataman said Ched has to scrutinize why there were no medical scholars in 2018 when many young Moros want to be doctors.
“Kailangan paigtingin ang information drive, o kaya ang Ched na mismo ang lumapit sa mga estudyante,” he suggested. “Ched should adapt to the changes and be more responsive to the needs of students.” /kga
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