Press Release
September 9, 2020


Senator Richard J. Gordon widened the options of medical scholars for serving the county upon becoming doctors after his amendment to the proposed bill seeking to establish a medical scholarship program was approved.

Gordon proposed to amend Senate Bill No. 1520 or the Doktor Para sa Bayan Act to include working for international organizations accredited by the Department of Health that are serving the country's underprivileged sectors, aside from working in health or medical research centers or teaching full-time in public institutions in the country once they qualify as doctors.

"It allows wider latitude for choice. It doesn't mean that when they go in there, they are skipping their obligation to the State. It only adds more positions just in case they want to choose to work for, let's say the World Health Organization or other organizations like the International Red Cross, or others," he said.

SBN 1520 proposes the establishment of a medical scholarship and return service program for deserving Filipino students in state universities and colleges and in partner private higher education institutions in regions where there are no SUCs offering medicine, provided that they satisfy the qualifications provided in the proposed law.

The senator, who is also chairman and CEO of the Philippine Red Cross, pointed out that allowing the scholars to work for international organizations would also benefit the country since, in times of outbreaks or pandemics like the COVID-19 pandemic, they would be exposed to wider research and more extensive programs.

"The idea is good - we want them to serve the country, but the other idea is to allow them a wider source of knowledge especially on research, especially on public health. Certainly, World Health Organization is a great source of public health techniques that we can adopt and that we can be eclectic about it. Certainly, International Red Cross has some of these things and sometimes we do send doctors abroad like in Nepal. The Philippine Red Cross sent doctors to Nepal and they were mostly volunteers and they came back," he added.

Gordon also supported the provision of the proposed measure which provides that a scholar who fails or refuses to serve the return service required under the bill will have to pay the full cost of the scholarship including other benefits and related expenses. The bill further provides that the Professional Regulatory Commission shall deny the renewal of licenses of those who will not pay.

"They should pay for the years they were given, the education if they don't comply. They should pay for the time and the money that was invested in them by the government," he said.

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