BONTOC, Mountain Province – Three aspiring medical doctors are hoped to serve the people in the far-flung areas of the province in the coming years following the renewal of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) of their education scholarship by the Provincial Government of Mountain Province.
It could be recalled that the Mountain Province Medical Doctors Scholarship Program (MPMDSP) started in 2016 and was initiated by then late Governor Leonard G. Mayaen in an effort to improve the health situation in the province.
Recognizing the importance of the scholarship program, Governor Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr., met with the aspiring doctors on December 27, 2017 for the renewal the memorandum of agreement before the year ends to ensure the proper implementation of the program.
The MPMDSP was enacted through Executive Order No. 15, S. 2015 wherein interested, qualified and deserving applicants from Mountain Province shall pursue medical doctor’s course at the expense of the provincial government.
It has been observed that most medical doctors prefer to practice their profession in built-up areas which result in a snag in the delivery of health services in the eastern part of the province.
Currently, the provincial government operates and manages four hospitals namely: Bontoc General Hospital, Besao District Hospital, Barlig District Hospital and Paracelis District Hospital.
Given the day to day battle in health concerns, the provincial government deemed it imperative that the hospitals be sufficiently staffed with medical practitioners to enable the continuous and unhampered provision of health services. The Barlig and Paracelis district hospitals are weighed down by medical practitioners for the reason that a few or none at all are willing to apply in these areas.
A series of study and evaluation of hospital set-ups led the provincial government to come up with the medical scholarship program. Upon the completion of the requirements for the course on medicine and thereafter passing the Physician Licensure Examination, a recipient shall serve at the provincial government operated hospitals preferably at Barlig and Paracelis or in some community hospitals. A payback services for the provincial government by the program’s beneficiary will assure that medical practitioners will be serving the remote areas of the province.
Under the Memorandum of Agreement, an applicant may enroll in or has to transfer to any accredited medical college or university in the Philippines and the provincial government shall, following a scheme designed, finance the schooling of a recipient. Sticking to the methodology likewise designed, the Province shall monitor the performance of the recipient.
Meanwhile, there is a committee which was created to validate and assess the applicants. The MPMDSP Committee is composed of the Provincial Health Officer as Chairperson and the members are the Assistant Provincial Health Officer, Sangguniang Panlalawigan Chairperson of the Committee on Health and the Provincial Human Resources Management Officer.
In its implementation, the committee devises relevant, pertinent and appropriate rules and regulation. It is given the latitude to troubleshoot problems arising from the implementation of this program and any solution agreed upon and devised by the committee are endorsed to the Provincial Governor to aid him in making the necessary, appropriate and responsive action.
After graduation, the recipient shall furnish the provincial government a proof of its completion of the course. And upon passing the board exam, the recipient must immediately inform the provincial government of the same. With the license on hand, the applicant shall forthwith be appointed by the provincial government to serve for a period of twice that period spent in schooling which is financed by the provincial government to include internship under this program. After fully serving for the period pre-agreed upon, the beneficiary may choose to remain in or transfer from his or her current employment.
The program’s funding component includes tuition fees, laboratory fees, book allowances, medical tools, uniform allowances and living subsidy which include transportation and lodging.
By Erwin S. Batnag