House approves bill on medical scholarship program
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives on Monday approved on third and final reading the bill offering scholarships to college students who wish to pursue a degree in medicine.
With 245 votes, no negative votes, and no abstention, the lower chamber approved House Bill No. 6756 or “An Act Establishing a Medical Scholarship and Return Service.”
Under the measure, an applicant for a medical scholarship and return service program must be a Filipino citizen, a graduate or graduating student of a prerequisite course for a doctor of medicine degree, must have passed the entrance examination and complied with other requirements in the state or private college or university where he or she intends to enroll.
An applicant must have also obtained a national medical admission test score mandated by the Commission on Higher Education and the cut-off required by the state or private school where he/she plans to enroll.
At least one scholar must come from each town throughout the country. If no one qualifies in a particular town, another scholar could be selected from the neighboring municipality, the bill states.
Further, the proposed measure would oblige a graduate to serve in his or her town for at least four years and refusal to do so would mean he or she would have to return twice the amount the government spent for his or her medical degree.
The proposed financial assistance would cover tuition and other school fees, allowance for books, equipment, supplies, dormitory, clothing, and transportation, fees for internship and medical board review, and other related miscellaneous and living expenses.
Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, one of the authors of House Bill No. 6756, earlier said that the measure “is the answer to the lack of doctors in rural areas” especially as the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.
“It will open the opportunity for poor but deserving students to pursue a degree in medicine and serve their communities in the countryside,” Rodriguez said in a statement.
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