Chiz Escudero

The Visayas State University along with four other state universities and colleges (SUCs) gets the nod of the Senate Committee on Higher, Technical, and Vocational Education for the establishment of medical colleges in the provinces of Leyte, Quezon, La Union, Northern Samar, and Cagayan De Oro City.

These four SUCs include Southern Luzon State University, Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University - South La Union Campus, University of Eastern Philippines, and University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines. 

Currently chaired by Senator Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero, this Senate bill intends to establish more medical schools across the country as a way of strengthening the local health industry by producing more doctors in the different regions and fulfilling the ideal ratio of 10 physicians for every 10,000 Filipinos within the country.

The need for more doctors and other medical professionals was more felt during the COVID-19 pandemic with thousands of healthcare workers have got infected by the disease.

The Business World (2020) reported that even before the current pandemic, the Philippines was already facing a serious shortage of medical workers. Based on the most recent data from the DoH, there were 40,775 medical doctors (in the health sector) in the country in 2017, which translates to a medical doctor-to-population ratio of 0.4:1,000. 

The generally accepted standard is one doctor for every 1,000 population, which means the country was 63,710 doctors short, given its 2017 population of 104 million. The shortage of doctors is even more severe in the provinces, particularly in Visayas and Mindanao.

As the various bills were consolidated, Escudero said a provision on the revised version to be crafted by the committee will require that the schools will only become operational and will start accepting enrollees once they comply with the requirements prescribed by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

A feasibility study has already been conducted by VSU with some faculty and staff of the College of Nursing (CoN) and the University Services for Health, Emergency and Rescue (USHER) conducting benchmarking activities in top medical schools in both private and public universities and colleges.

Three months ago, Leyte 5th District Representative Carl Nicolas C. Cari happily announced the approval at the House Committee level of proposed legislation that will soon make way for the offering of a Doctor of Medicine (MD) program at the Visayas State University’s flagship campus in Baybay City, Leyte.

The bill authored by Congressman Cari is consistent with the aspiration of the local government of Baybay City to become a healthcare powerhouse that will serve the needs of western Leyte and the entire Eastern Visayas region.

The city government has recently poured in massive investment in infrastructure for the improvement of basic health services with the completion of the Immaculate Concepcion Hospital (previously the Western Leyte Provincial Hospital) and the ongoing construction of a Super Health Center that is anticipated to become a one-stop shop for all out-patient laboratory tests and other medical services that will soon become available for Baybayanons and residents of the Fifth District.

With both bills in the Lower and Upper Houses now approved by their respective committee panels, it is expected that this will soon be enacted into law and will get funding from the national government starting next year.

VSU President Edgardo E. Tulin is confident that the VSU College of Medicine will be offered at VSU in no time. 

“With the overwhelming support of our local officials and the backing of our national leaders, I’m sure that our very own College of Medicine will become operational very soon. We’re readying both our technical manpower including the possible facilities that will be built for this project. And I’m sure that the first set of our enrollees will also enjoy free tuition and other fees as part of the national government’s initiative for free higher education for everyone,” Dr. Tulin explained.


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