On a joint local and national press conference held last May 24, 2021 via Zoom and was streamed live on Facebook, Cebu Normal University-Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (CNU-VSMMC) College of Medicine, hand-in-hand with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), answered queries about the first state-funded medical school in Region VII to open this upcoming school year 2021-2022.
In accordance with Republic Act 1159 or “Doktor Para sa Bayan Act” signed by President Rodrigo Duterte, qualified students will be able to study medicine for free, and as a return service, they will serve in government hospitals in their hometowns after graduating.
Dr. Gerardo M. Aquino Jr., Medical Center Chief ll of VSMMC, noted in his speech that the lack of physicians in the rural, underserved, and geographically isolated areas remains to be felt by the medical center; he also mentioned about the distressing 3.1: 10,000 doctor to population ratio in Central Visayas which signifies the scarcity of physicians in the region.
“CNU has the degree-granting authority while VSMMC has the expertise and facilities in training medical doctors… Where we lack, we complemented each other, making the partnership perfect,” Aquino said.
Dr. J. Prospero E. De Vera lll, Chairperson of CHED, was also present at the press conference and said that he personally asked that the event will be conducted while he is still in Cebu city.
“The commission always thought that it was a very good fit between a university that has shown itself to be an excellent teacher training institution because we expect the same level of excellence when it opens a medical program, and of course for Vicente Sotto [VSMMC], because it has anchored healthcare in the region and has treated so many patients,” the CHED chairperson said, adding that the partnership between the two is “logical”.
De Vera also disclosed that the starting grant to be given to CNU-VSMMC College of Medicine will be around PhP 25 to 30 million, which according to him, “to jumpstart its acquisition of necessary educational equipment for their medical program” with an assurance of continuous assistance.
Aspiring medical students can start sending their applications on June 1-25, 2021.
Words by Rena Mae Avila and Dykembie Dingal
Screenshot by Alyssa Cañete