SEN. Francis Chiz Escudero on Wednesday (Sept. 20) thanked his colleagues for supporting the 12 local higher education-related bills that include the establishment of an additional five public medical schools around the country.
During Wednesday’s plenary, the Senate approved on second reading the dozen bills that emanated from Escudero’s Committee on Higher, Technical and Vocational Education. No one interpellated and the veteran legislator was able to introduce all the proposed amendments.
The approved bills are now to be scheduled for their third and final reading.
“We are now a step away towards the realization of our goal of offering medical courses in various parts of the country to meet the health needs of Filipinos,” Escudero stressed, noting that the country is already 114,000 short of doctors even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, based on data from the Department of Health.
The challenge today, he said, is not only addressing the current shortage 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 said.
Approved on second reading are the bills that would allow the following state universities to establish their own college of medicine:
• Benguet State University in the Cordilleras, under 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.
Aside from being research and innovation hubs, Escudero noted that the five public universities are “centers of excellence” that consistently produce excellent board passers.
The Senate likewise passed on second reading yesterday the bills that would allow the creation of veterinary schools at the Bicol University in Ligao, Albay (Committee Report 114) and the Southern Luzon State University-Catanauan Campus (Committee Report 115) in Quezon province.
The remaining bills that were also approved yesterday were:
• 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, under Committee Report 96;
• Creation of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines-Paranaque City Campus, under Committee Report 113; and
• Strengthening the Bulacan State University, expanding its curricular offerings and the composition of the Governing Board, under Committee Report 108.