MANILA - The Philippine Medical Association rejected Wednesday a proposal to automatically give out the licenses of about 1,500 physician board examinees to help in the fight against the novel coronavirus.
According to the Medical Act of 1959, a doctor can be licensed only if they have passed the board exam, Dr. Benito Atienza told DZMM.
"Mayroon tayong batas na sinusunod nga, diba 'yong Medical Act. Nakasaad doon na bago ka tawaging licensed doctor, dapat talaga naipasa mo at dapat nagtetraining pa rin. Pagkatapos naming maging isang doktor, mayroon tayong tinatawag na training. Mayroon tayong special training. 'Yong kaalaman nila ay dapat nagpapatuloy," he said.
Atienza said the PMA has around 83,000 doctors, enough to accommodate every Filipino in the country. This does not include doctors outside of their organization.
Aspiring doctors can still help in their respective hospitals with a signed waiver and proper training, he said.
"Hindi siya doctor pero ang kanyang [pagtulong] ay nasa kanyang discretion na 'yon kung tutulong siya, kahit sino naman pwedeng tumulong. Pero sa part ng pagiging handa, sa part ng pagiging doktor dapat talaga kukuha ng board exam dahil 'yon ang nakasaad sa ating batas," he said.
"Dapat kasi handa ka 'rin eh, 'yong sarili mo, theoretically. Actually, hindi naman lahat ng doktor sasabak diyan kasi nagte-training pa ang mga 'yan," he added.
As of Tuesday, the health department recorded a total of 552 COVID-19 patients, which includes 35 fatalities and 20 recoveries.