MANILA — A few days before Congress goes on break, the Senate approved on third and final reading 17 proposed measures, including bills that would establish colleges of medicine for the implementation of the Doctor Para sa Bayan Act, which seeks to provide scholarships for individuals who want to study medicine and address the issue on inadequacy in the number of doctors in the country.
Senators unanimously approved the establishment of the Colleges of Medicine in Benguet State University; Southern Luzon State University at its main campus in Lucban, Quezon; University of Eastern Philippines in Catarman, Northern Samar; Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University-South La Union campus in Agoo and Visayas State University in Baybay, Leyte.
As envisioned, the “Doktor Para sa Bayan Act” will help deserving students pursue medical education and training in the hope that they would eventually render services in government hospitals in their hometown, home province or in any underserved municipality.
The Senate also approved on third and final reading several local bills that seek the conversion and establishment of schools across the country as it recognized the importance of education in developing life skills.
Sen. Francis Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on higher, technical and vocational education and sponsor of the measures, said the upgrade of the status of schools into regular campuses would give the education institutions certain autonomous decision-making prerogatives.
“The conversion and establishment of these campuses are driven not only by egalitarian motives of democratizing access to its portals but in making sure that it is attended with excellence,” he explained.
Approved on third reading were House Bill 6553 (Bataan Peninsula State University-Batac Campus Act); HB 6552 (Leyte Normal University-San Isidro Campus Act); HB 6128 (Pampanga State Agricultural University-Floridablanca Campus Act); HB 7091 (Polytechnic University of the Philippines-Parañaque City Campus Act); HB 6704 (Benguet State University-College of Medicine Act); HB 7087 (Southern Luzon State University-College of Medicine Act); HB 7088 (University of Eastern Philippines-College of Medicine Act); HB 7090 (Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University-South La Union Campus-College of Medicine Act); HB 7412 (Visayas State University-College of Medicine Act); HB 7961 (Revised Bulacan State University Charter); HB 7397 (Bicol University-College of Veterinary Medicine) and HB 7398 (Southern Luzon State University-Catanauan Campus–College of Veterinary Medicine).
Cash for ages 80, 90
Meanwhile, the Senate also approved a proposed measure that will provide persons who reach 80 years old and 90 years old with a P10,000 and P20,000 cash gift, respectively.
Currently, only those who reach 100 years are given a cash gift of P100,000 by the government. However, the life expectancy among Filipinos is pegged only at 79 years for men and 83 years for women.
Under Senate Bill 2028 (Expanding the Coverage of the Centenarians Act) it approved yesterday, the Centenarians Act of 2016 will be modified in such a way that senior citizens would already be given cash gifts upon reaching ages 80 and 90.
Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III noted that many Filipinos do not reach the age of 100 and are unable to enjoy the “benefits and privileges of the centenarians.”
Sen. Imee Marcos, who sponsored the bill, said “the rising cost of living and health care expenses has made it very difficult for our senior citizens to afford basic necessities.” (philstar)