Press Release
August 25, 2020

Villar asks SUCs, DOH to build one medical school per region

Sen. Cynthia Villar pushed for the establishment of at least one medical school in each and every region in the country as a way to increase the number of doctors and improve the healthcare workforce.

During the Senate deliberation on Senate Bill 1520 or the Medical Scholarship Bill, Villar said state universities and colleges (SUC) should be required to establish at least one medical school in all 17 regions of the country.

"Dapat magtayo ang malalaking SUC ng isang medical school sa bawat region. Kapag tinayuan mo all 17 regions, makukuha mo na ang target na number of doctors at nasa buong Pilipinas pa sila. Hindi mangyayari na may region na walang duktor," Villar said.

About 79,800 doctors are needed in order to achieve the ideal ratio of 10 physicians for every 10,000 individuals. Villar said SUCs should work together with Department of Health-operated hospitals and start operating medical schools.

"The lack of public medical schools and the prohibitive cost of studying medicine discourage the youth to even consider a career as a doctor. We should start building medical schools in the provinces and providing scholarships to make the study of medicine affordable. If we do this, we will soon have more doctors," Villar said.

Villar, who served as chairperson of the Committee on Higher and Technical Education when she was Las Pinas Representative, said she will propose a provision in the bill that will list and identify the SUCs and the DOH-operated hospitals which will be mandated to work together to establish medical schools all over the country.

Sen. Joel Villanueva, principal sponsor of the bill, agreed to include the proposal of Villar in the final version of the bill.

Villar also said she was surprised to learn that out of the 114 SUCs, only nine SUCs have a medical school. She said the absence of these institutions in highly developed areas such as Cebu and Regions 3 Central Luzon, 4A Southern Tagalog and Region 11 Davao Region should also be addressed.

The Nacionalista Party senator also proposed to amend the law giving free college education to include scholarships in medicine.

"Unfair na walang scholarship for medicine. Dapat baguhin natin ang scholarships offered in SUCs. Bakit walang medicine, napakaimportante ng mga duktor? Doctors should be the exception because unlike other professions, they cannot practice unless they complete premed and medicine-proper courses, " Villar said.

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