LAOAG CITY – The province of Ilocos Norte wants more young Ilokano doctors to serve the province in the future.
To address the need for more medical practitioners particularly in these trying times, the Ilocos Norte government through its medical scholarship program has sponsored at least 12 medical students this school year.
They are the first batch of medical scholars who are currently enrolled at the state-run Mariano Marcos State University, College of Medicine.
“Four of them are in first year, three in the second year, two in third year and three are in the fourth year,” said Dr. Danny Daquioag, education consultant of Ilocos Norte on Tuesday.
According to Daquioag, they expect to increase the number of medical scholars next school year with a bigger budget allocation for the program.
Under the medical scholarship program, each beneficiary is entitled to free tuition and miscellaneous fees, including a PHP5,000 monthly stipend for the whole academic year.
In return, the scholar agrees to serve a government hospital in the province equivalent to the number of years that he/she became a medical scholar once he/she become a full-fledged doctor.
In 2019, Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc included the medical scholarship in its integrated provincial scholarship programs to produce more homegrown doctors in the province.
The initial slot for the medical scholarship program prioritized the third and fourth-year students who are residents of Ilocos Norte.
The first batch of medical scholars was presented to the provincial lawmakers on Monday during their outdoor session at the La Tabacalera Center just beside the provincial Capitol building.
One of the 12 scholars identified as Aira Cassandra Castro from Barangay 15 San Guillermo, Laoag City is a candidate for cum laude, said board member Saul Lazo, chairperson of the committee on education.
Like in the previous year, the barely five-year-old Ilocos Norte medical school posted a 100 percent passing rate in the recently concluded Physician Licensure Examination. One of its five examinees, Dr. Jaymee Borja Quindara, placed ninth overall. (PNA)