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Medical doctors for rural areas in Phl sought
Rep. Eric Olivarez of Paranaque City is proposing the mandatory local practice of newly-licensed medical doctors who are graduates of state universities and public colleges before they can obtain employment abroad or engage in private practice.
House Bill 4547 mandates all newly-licensed medicine graduates of state universities and public colleges to practice their profession in the country for five years from the time of their oath taking as doctors.
"Or they may opt to hold or conduct instead at least 20 free medical missions in different depressed areas or far flung barangays. Each medical mission must be conducted for at least eight hours for each depressed area or far-flung barangay," Olivarez explained.
He said the massive "brain drain" that the country has experienced for the past years was brought about by government scholars seeking job opportunities abroad.
Olivarez further said the brain drain has resulted in the dearth of medical doctors to serve, especially in far-flung areas where people could not receive decent medical service due to geographical barriers.
He said these medical graduates of state universities and public colleges forget that the money that sent them to college and enabled them to finish their medical course came from the tax paying citizens, majority of which are poor themselves and minimum wage earners.
"Considering that medicine is the most expensive postgraduate course there is, then it is only fair and reasonable that those who completed the said course in public universities and colleges be mandated to practice their profession in the country first before they can work abroad so that our citizens can experience good medical services form our own doctors," Olivarez said.
As provided under the measure, no credit shall be given to a doctor or newly-licensed medicine graduate of a state university or public college if the 20 medical missions were conducted in the same mission or depressed area or barangay or in an affluent residential area or in a subdivision.
Proofs of compliance with this Act consist of proof of employment indicating the number of years of service in the country and a certification from the barangay captains of the barangays or mission/depressed areas where the medical mission were conducted.
The bill provides the penalty of imprisonment of five years and a fine of not more than P100,000 and in addition to the foregoing penalties, the revocation of medical license by the Professional Regulation Commission if the offender is a newly licensed medicine graduate of public universities or colleges.