The Senate needs Php 4.6 billion to fund its proposed Medical Scholarship bill, which aims to establish additional medical schools and provide extension for state universities and colleges.
During the Senate budget hearing, Commission on Higher Education chairperson Prospero De Vera said that based mentioned amount, Php1 billion will be allocated for three state university colleges, all expressed their intentions of opening their own medical programs.
These schools include Cebu Normal University, Western Mindanao State University in Zamboanga City and University of Southern Philippines in Davao City.
The Php1.17 billion will be allocated meanwhile on the expansion of SUCs with existing medical schools.
Php.25 billion is needed in funding other SUCs who intend to put up their own medical programs as well.
Philippines currently has eight SUCs with medical programs.
Sen. Joel Villanueva said that a big chunk of the 26 thousand who took the national medical admission test in 2019 came from regions with SUCs without medical programs.
However, the senators were irked when CHED revealed that there are foreign nationals studying in SUCs.
De Vera confirmed that he himself was against accepting foreign students because the money being used in these programs come from the public’s taxes. But there are some board of regents who allow the entry of foreign students in SUCs.
Sen. Franklin Drilon insisted that foreign students should not just be prohibited from studying in SUCs’ medical schools but in all SUCs because theses schools are using public funds.
Senators’ Cynthia Villar and Sherwin Gatchalian chimed in and said that SUCs have limited capacity because of the budget that the government allocates them, so this should only be available to Filipino students.
Sen. Imee Marcos pointed out that the Senate is exhausting all means to increase the budget of CHED for the additional medical schools, which is why they need to put a halt on accepting foreign students as only Filipino students should benefit from these SUCs.