SENATE President Vicente Sotto III on Monday said some deserving students who want to join the country’s medical sector, especially those in the Visayas region, would soon get the chance to pursue their dreams of becoming doctors with the launching of the Doctor of Medicine program at the Cebu Normal University-Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (CNU-VSMMC) for the coming 2021-2022 academic year.
Sotto, principal author of the Doktor Para sa Bayan Act, said the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) en banc last May 11 gave the go signal to the CNU-VSMMC College of Medicine Consortium to begin accepting students for the coming school year.
“Being the principal author of the Doktor Para sa Bayan Act, I am both elated and excited that my efforts and those of my colleagues in the Senate to increase the number of doctors in underserved areas are already bearing fruit. Nakakataba po ng puso na isipin na tayo ay nakatulong na mabigyan ng pagkakataon ang ating mga aspiring doctors na matupad na ang kanilang mga pangarap,” Sotto said.
Sotto said the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic had exposed the weaknesses of the country’s healthcare system, particularly the shortage of doctors in underserved areas and far-flung local governments.
“Nakakalungkot pong isipin na marami pa ring lugar sa ating bansa ang walang mga doktor na titingin sa kalusugan ng ating mga kababayang may sakit. Sa pagsasabatas ng Doktor Para sa Bayan Act at sa pagbukas ng medical program sa CNU-VSMMC, umaasa po tayo na mas madali nating makakamit ang ideal ratio na one doctor per barangay,” Sotto said.
The Doktor Para sa Bayan Act (RA 11509) establishes a Medical Scholarship and Return Service program for deserving students in state universities and colleges, or in partner private higher education institutes in regions where no SUCs offer a medical course.