Press Release
June 16, 2023

Country needs 10 doctors for every 10,000 Filipinos - Tolentino

BAGUIO CITY - Senator Francis 'TOL' N. Tolentino emphasized the need for the country to have a more accessible health program as doctor shortage remained as one of the main concerns in the Philippines.

In his speech during the 93rd National Assembly of the League of Vice Governors of the Philippines, Tolentino stressed that as days go by, the population of local physicians continues to shrink as many among their ranks seek greener pastures overseas.

"The current medical situation in the Philippines right now is below the threshold... mas marami pa pong sinisilang kaysa sa ating mga pediatricians," said Tolentino, noting that the country only has around 169,000 physicians for the population of more than 101 million. Of the said figures, the senator noted that only about 49 percent are currently active in the local medical profession.

"Sa ngayon po, there are only four doctors for every 10,000 Filipinos. Wala po tayong (halos) surgeons. 0.2 percent lang ang surgeons natin," he stressed.

According to Tolentino, the country needs at least "10 doctors for every 10,000 Filipinos" to have an accessible medical health care in the country.

To address this critical challenge, Tolentino urged the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and members of Congress "to open their minds" by allowing the amendment of Republic Act No. 8981 or the PRC Modernization Act of 2000 to authorize foreign licensed doctors to practice locally in various parts of the country for a longer period.

Tolentino stressed that foreign doctors "can strategically be placed in the underserved areas, providing the much-needed medical services" along the countryside, especially in long-neglected communities.

"Through this approach, it will ensure that every Filipino regardless of geographical locations will have access to competent healthcare professionals. 'Yun po ang kulang natin," the senator explained.

He added that even if the government continues to construct additional health facilities, the dream of having an accessible healthcare program cannot be achieved if the shortage of doctors won't be addressed immediately.

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