Lawmaker urges SUCs to open more medical schools

House Minority Leader Marcelino Libanan (Facebook)

House of Representatives Minority Leader Marcelino “Nonoy” Libanan is calling for the mobilization of state universities and colleges (SUCs) to open new medical schools to address the shortage of medical professionals in the Philippines.

In a push towards enhancing the country’s public healthcare system, Libanan emphasizes the need for more accessible and state-subsidized medical education.

The proposition centers around the idea of enabling advanced SUCs, especially those located in provincial areas, to establish their own medical schools.

Libanan suggests that the state should shoulder at least a portion of the tuition fees to alleviate the financial burden on Filipino families, who often find the cost of private medical education prohibitive.

“Very few Filipino families can afford to send their children to private medical schools that are very expensive. This is one of the reasons why we are not producing enough doctors,” he stated.

The need for such measures is underscored by Libanan’s call for the rapid enactment of his bill to set up the Eastern Samar State University (ESSU) College of Medicine, which would be situated in the Borongan City campus of the ESSU, a major educational institution in Eastern Visayas.

Libanan, a former representative of Eastern Samar’s congressional district and a lawyer with a medical technology background, recognizes that while many SUCs have the capacity to operate medical schools, they require legislative support through charter amendments and appropriations. Currently, only seven out of 116 SUCs in the country offer a Doctor of Medicine program.

The urgency is further compounded by the Department of Health’s statistics, which reveal that the Philippines has a doctor-to-population ratio of approximately 3.6 per 10,000 people, significantly below the World Health Organization’s recommended ratio of 10 doctors per 10,000 population.

Through the proposed educational reforms and investments, Libanan envisions a future where the Philippines can significantly bolster its medical workforce, ultimately improving the nation’s health outcomes and ensuring that its citizens have better access to quality healthcare services.

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