'Supersizing' of medicine scholar slots shows PH learned lesson from pandemic, says Recto


At a glance

  • House Deputy Speaker and Batangas 6th district Rep. Ralph Recto says the country is showing that it has learned a lesson from the Covid-19 pandemic with its "supersizing" of medicine scholars' slots from the current 1,411 to 3,600.


FB_IMG_1661160376622.jpg House Deputy Speaker and Batangas 6th district Rep. Ralph Recto (Facebook)


House Deputy Speaker and Batangas 6th district Rep. Ralph Recto says the country is showing that it has learned a lesson from the Covid-19 pandemic with its "supersizing" of medicine scholars' slots.

On Thursday, April 13, Recto bared that 2,189 new taxpayer-funded free medical education slots will open in the 2023-2024 school year, raising the number of “Doktor Para Sa Bayan” scholars to a “brigade size” 3,600.

“This is a 150 percent increase. We are supersizing the number of government scholars taking up medicine,” said Recto, who in his previous term as a senator auhored the law creating the program.

Recto said, "This programmed scaling up of the production of more physicians heeds the lesson of the recent pandemic and a way to future-proof the country."

He said three years ago, when the Philippine population was just 106.9 million, the Department of Health (DOH) said the country was already lacking 78,400 doctors, if the ratio of 10 doctors to 10,000 people is followed.

Incidentally, the deadly Covid-19 first emerged in the country in early 2020.

The medicine scholars will study in 16 state universities and 16 private schools in 15 regions, the House leader said. Under Republic Act (RA) No.11509, or the Doktor Para sa Bayan Act, the state will pay for the tuition and other school fees of the scholars.

The expansion, from the current 1,411 slots, is made possible by a P917-million funding for the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), Recto explained.

Under the 2023 national budget, CHEd is given P500 million for the “Medical Scholarship and Return Service Program” and P167 million as “Subsidy for Tuition Fees for Medical Students in State Universities and Colleges".

In addition, a P250-million start-up fund to outfit participating SUCs with equipment and facilities has been included in the CHEd budget.