In a groundbreaking move aimed at addressing the critical shortage of doctors in the Cordillera region, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. recently signed Republic Act (RA) 11970, establishing the Benguet State University-College of Medicine. This historic development is set to reshape the healthcare landscape, not only in Benguet but throughout the Cordillera.
Regional Impact and Government Initiatives
The significance of RA 11970 lies in its potential to bolster the local healthcare system by producing more physicians. Governor Melchor Diclas expressed gratitude to President Marcos and Benguet Lone District Rep. Eric Go Yap for their roles in championing House Bill No. 312, laying the foundation for this vital initiative.
This legislative stride aligns with the broader national commitment to improving healthcare, as demonstrated by the "Doctor para sa Bayan Law" (RA 11509) signed by President Duterte in 2021.
Local Support and Advocacy
Governor Diclas emphasized the collaborative effort between local officials and lawmakers, noting that the establishment of the medical college is a testament to the region's proactive approach to healthcare challenges.
This collaborative spirit has set the stage for a brighter future, where the medical needs of the Cordillera region can be met with a homegrown cadre of healthcare professionals.
Study Now, Pay Later Program and Leadership Vision
The impact of the new medical college extends beyond legislation. Governor Diclas, a surgeon himself, foresees a boost to Benguet's "Study Now, Pay Later" program, providing financial assistance to aspiring doctors.
This visionary approach was set in motion with the installation of university president Felipe Comila in 2018.
Comila revealed that 50 initial slots would be made available for aspiring physicians, a number set to increase to 60 students annually.
The foresight in increasing access to medical education is particularly noteworthy, as the college aims to instill confidence in individuals from diverse backgrounds, including the Igorot community, encouraging them to pursue medicine despite financial constraints.
The establishment of the Benguet State University-College of Medicine marks a pivotal moment in the region's healthcare journey.
With a collaborative effort from local and national leaders, this initiative not only addresses the shortage of doctors but also promotes inclusivity in medical education.
As classes commence in August, the Cordillera region is poised for a transformative healthcare future, shaped by the dedication and vision of those who championed this historic endeavor.