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143 Bicol University medical students get gov’t scholarship

A total of 143 aspiring doctors from Bicol University (BU) qualified for a full medical scholarship offered by the national government.

Ofelia Samar-Sy, dean of BU College of Medicine (BUCM), announced in a social media post on Thursday that all their first-year students were able to avail of the Medical Scholarship Return Service (MSRS) program administered by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) under the "Doktor Para sa Bayan" Law.

"Under the MSRS program, BUCM scholars are set to receive PHP177,000 per year from the first year to the fourth year and PHP148,000 during post-graduate internship and upon taking the Physician Licensure Examination (PLE)," the dean said in an interview on Friday.

The medical grant will cover the tuition and miscellaneous fees, including internship fees, medical board review fees, licensure fees, and other education-related allowances, for the full duration of their medical course.

Samar-Sy said this is the third batch of BUCM students to avail of the scholarship. Last year, all 83 applicants from the college qualified for the grant, while 47 out of 49 were able to secure slots in 2021.

BUCM is the only accredited medical school in Bicol to accept students as MSRS scholars.

In a separate interview, Czarina Pauline Co, one of the beneficiaries from Daraga, Albay, said the financial assistance is a big help in her medical journey.

"I'm grateful po na isa po ako sa beneficiaries ng MSRS program kasi po at least now confident po ako na mapupursue and matatapos ko po yung four-year med program + 1 post internship kasi settled na po siya financially. Di na po ako magaworry ng tuition so ang focus ko nalang po is how to survive yung subjects. (I am grateful that I am one of the beneficiaries of the MSRS program because at least now I am confident that I can pursue and finish the four-year med program + 1 post-internship because it is settled financially. I won't worry about tuition anymore, so my only focus is how to survive the subjects)," she said.

The BU scholars, who come from different provinces in the country, are expected to return service to their hometowns or to places that need doctors the most after they pass the PLE.

The 143 scholars who are studying at BU are from the following areas: Albay--53; Camarines Sur--33; Sorsogon--19; Camarines Norte--nine; Quezon Province--six; National Capital Region (NCR)--five; three each from Catanduanes, Laguna, Cavite and Bulacan; two from Masbate; and one each from Pangasinan, Bohol, Bataan, and Zamboanga del Norte, respectively.

For Co, the return of service scheme is a good opportunity to 'give back to the community.'

'Providing services to the people, especially to those in geographically isolated areas with limited access to healthcare, is very important given the lack of doctors in our country,' she said.

Republic Act 11509, also known as the Doktor Para sa Bayan Act, through the MSRS program, aims to provide assistance to deserving Filipino students who want to pursue a medical degree.

Qualified applicants from municipalities without government physicians are given priority to meet the goal of the national government to ensure that there is at least one doctor in every town in the country

Source: Philippines News Agency