Press Release
October 15, 2020


Chairman, Committee on Higher, Technical and Vocational Education

Mr. President, esteemed colleagues, on behalf of the Senate Panel to the Bicameral Conference Committee on the Disagreeing Provisions of Senate Bill No. 1520 and House Bill No. 6756 or "An Act Establishing a Medical Scholarship and Return Service Program for Deserving Students and Appropriating Funds Therefor", I have the honor to report to this august chamber the Bicameral Committee Report on the reconciled bill.

This report has been the result of hard work and dedication of all members of the panel from both Houses of Congress [On the part of the Senate: Senators Binay, Angara, Gatchalian, Hontiveros and yours truly; and on the part of the House of Representatives: Mark Go, Helen Tan, Rufus Rodriguez, Ann Hofer, Gabriel Bordado, and Bro. Eddie Villanueva] as well as the valuable support and assistance from our resource persons and technical staff.

At the outset, allow me, Mr. President, to express our sincere appreciation to our counterparts in the House for accepting most of the Senate's proposals.

Mr. President, instead of reading the Joint Explanation of this Bicameral Report, consisting of 14 pages, please allow me to just present the highlights of the reconciled bill as endorsed by the bicameral conference committee and the Joint Explanation be inserted and considered read into the record of today's plenary.

First, the bill establishes the Medical Scholarship and Return Service Program for deserving Filipino students with priority for qualified applicants from municipalities without government physicians to ensure, or to achieve, the goal of assigning of at least one (1) doctor for every municipality in the country;

Second, the bill provides free tuition and other school fees including allowances and fees for internship, medical board review and licensure examination;

Third, the bill sets conditions on scholarship grant such as the requirements for scholars to finish the entire Doctor of Medicine Program within the prescribed time frame and to render a return of service equivalent to the number of years he or she has availed of the scholarship;

Fourth, the bill imposes sanctions on doctors who will refuse to comply with the mandatory return service, including the payment equivalent to twice the full cost of the scholarship expenses. [Mr. President, you will remember that the penalty in the Senate Bill is just equivalent to the full cost of the scholarship expenses.]

Fifth, the bill consolidates and harmonizes all Nationally-Funded Medical Scholarship Programs under the Medical Scholarship and Return Service Program;

Sixth, the bill requires CHED to streamline the requirements for the application for authority to offer Doctor of Medicine Program and strengthens the partnership between SUCs and DOH hospitals to increase the number of medical schools throughout the country with one (1) region having at least one state-operated medical school in five years;

Seventh, the bill lays down the key roles of the CHED, DOH, SUCs and the partner private Higher Education Institutions (PHEIs), as well as of the Local Government Units (LGUs) in line with the implementation of this measure;

Lastly, the bill includes a transitory provision that all scholars under the existing medical scholarship programs of DOH and CHED shall automatically be eligible to avail the benefits under this measure;

With the aforesaid, Mr. President, I move for the adoption of the Bicameral Conference Committee Report on the Disagreeing Provisions of Senate Bill No. 1520 and House Bill No. 6756 or the "Doktor Para sa Bayan Act".

Thank you very much and God bless us all.

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