Press Release
June 13, 2023

Tolentino urges DOH to consider allowing foreign doctors to temporarily practice in PH

MANILA - Senator Francis 'TOL' N. Tolentino urged the Department of Health (DOH) to study the possibility of allowing foreign doctors to practice locally in the country for a limited period.

In his weekly radio program on DZRH, Tolentino explained that the local medical industry will definitely benefit from allowing foreign doctors to practice locally "for a brief period," not only when it comes to exchange of ideas, but also on the aspect of 'transfer of technology.'

"Mayroon naman pong mga doktor na rehistrado sa ibang bansa na gusto mag practice for a brief period dito sa ating bansa na espesiyalista talaga doon-- sandali (lang) sila rito, hindi naman para makipag-compete. Magkakaroon ito ng transfer of technology," said Tolentino.

According to Tolentino, there are plenty of doctors from overseas who are signifying to conduct medical practice in the country, but the current protective policy prevents them from doing so.

"Bukod nga doon sa maraming mga espesyalista, lalo yung mga kababayan nating nasa abroad nag pa-practice, sa Amerika, na gustong tumulong dito--hindi lang medical mission, yung pang matagalan na yung siguro talagang may affinity sila dito sa ating bansa," the senator stressed.

He also cited his experience during the aftermath of the devastation of supertyphoon Yolanda in November 2013, in which a group of French and Spanish physicians from Doctors Without Borders approached him on ground zero in Tacloban City, telling him that even though they want to treat critical patients, they were only allowed to administer first aid procedure since they don't have licenses to practice in the Philippines.

Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa, who was Tolentino's guest during the program, adhered to the senator's observations, also noting his previous experience when he worked in Malaysia as visiting professor in a medical university where the Philippine medical license and his accreditation with the Philippine Medical Association are enough for Herbosa to practice medicine there.

"Ang sinubmit ko lang ay yung lisensya ko sa Pilipinas, yung membership ko sa (Philippine Medical Association), yung curriculum vitae ko, tapos ni-review nila. Tapos kaunting interview, tapos binigyan ako ng temporary license in the hospital doon sa Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (National University of Malaysia)," said Herbosa.

Herbosa said he will talk with the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) on the possibility of relaxing the current licensing rules to allow foreign doctors to temporarily practice their profession in the Philippines.

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