'Doktor Para sa Bayan' to bridge shortage of doctors in PH - Sen. Villanueva

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 20 2020 03:46 PM

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MANILA - A bill seeking to provide scholarships for Filipino medical students will address the shortage of doctors in the country, an issue accentuated by the coronavirus pandemic, the measure's author said Tuesday.

Sen. Joel Villanueva, chairman of the Committee on Higher, Technical and Vocational Education, said the "Doktor Para sa Bayan" bill is now up for President Rodrigo Duterte's signature after it was ratified by both houses of Congress last week.

There are currently 207 municipalities in the country without physicians, and this was highlighted when about 55 to 60 percent of those who died from COVID-19 did not even reach hospitals, he said.

The country, according to him, lacks around 79,000 doctors.

"We’re excited about this and we are looking at bridging the gap of the doctors that we need in the country," Villanueva said about the bill in an interview on ANC's Headstart.

Under the measure, the government will shoulder all expenses to send budding doctors to medical schools, provided that they will work in the country for the same number of years they were under the scholarship program.

It also aims to open plantilla positions for these physicians and open at least one medical school per region, said Villanueva.