Press Release
August 31, 2023


Senator Chiz Escudero, chair of the Senate Committee on Higher, Technical and Vocational Education, on Wednesday (Aug. 30) asked his colleagues to pass the various bills that will create more public medical schools in the country.

In his omnibus sponsorship speech at the plenary, Escudero said the country needs more doctors to meet the health needs of Filipinos--pandemic or no pandemic.

"If there is one painful lesson that the pandemic has taught us, it is the fact that even if we produce them in industrial scale, we cannot have enough doctors. Because even before COVID-19 struck, the Secretary of Health said we were already 114,000 short of doctors, in what could be described as our society's pre-existing comorbidity," the senator said.

In training more physicians, he pointed out, there is not only the current shortage to be wiped out but also "the future increases in population that must be contended with."

"Even if our population increase will decelerate and stabilize at 1.5 million a year, this would still have to be matched with new entrants to the medical profession," Escudero stressed.

The veteran legislator said the five state universities that will establish their own college of medicine are the following:

  • Benguet State University in the Cordilleras, which is the subject of Committee Report 109;

  • Southern Luzon State University in Quezon Province, under Committee Report 110;

  • University of Eastern Philippines in Northern Samar, under Committee Report 111;

  • Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University in La Union, under Committee Report 112; and

  • Visayas State University in Southern Leyte, under Committee Report 116.

"These schools are centers of excellence, consistently turn in excellent board examinations scores, and are research and innovation hubs," Escudero told his colleagues.

"Not only are they academically prepared and will soon be facility-ready, they have in their communities public and private hospitals, which could both provide training to students and faculty to the college of medicine," he added.

Escudero said the additional medical schools will boost Republic Act 11509 or the "Doktor Para Sa Bayan Act," which was passed in December 2020. The law aims to establish a medical scholarship and return service program for deserving students who want to pursue a degree in Doctor of Medicine in state universities and colleges.

"At present, the program is offered in 16 private schools and 16 state universities with funded slots for 3,600 scholars this year. The five bills I am introducing through this omnibus sponsorship speech will bring it to 21," the senator said.

"When enacted, this which will give the program a respectable footprint nationwide, dispersed to regions, in areas in great need of the doctors," he said.

The Bicolano senator likewise asked the Senate body to pass the bills that would allow the creation of two veterinary schools at the Bicol University in Ligao, Albay (as per Committee Report 114) and the Southern Luzon State University- Catanauan Campus (as per Committee Report 115) in Quezon province.

"There is a national shortage on veterinary doctors today. This can be addressed by establishing more colleges of veterinary medicines, especially in the countryside where large animal health care remains an underserved need of the farmers who feed us," Escudero pointed out.

The Bicolano senator also sponsored the passage of five local bills:

  • Creation of the Bataan Peninsula State University-Bagac Campus, under Committee Report 94;

  • Establishment of the Leyte Normal University-San Isidro Campus, under Committee Report 95;

  • Establishment of the Pampanga State Agricultural University-Floridablanca Campus, as per Committee Report 96;

  • Creation of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines-Paranaque City Campus, per Committee Report 113; and

  • Strengthening the Bulacan State University, expanding is curricular offerings and the composition of the Governing Board, as per Committee Report 108.

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