The proposed establishment of a College of Medicine at the Benguet State University, House Bill 312 was signed into law as Republic Act 11970 by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on December 20, 2023. Authored by Congressman Eric Go Yap, the law aims to address the significant gap in medical education within the region with the college of medicine envisioned to provide residents of Benguet and neighboring provinces the opportunity to pursue quality medical education and training without the need to relocate to distant cities.

Yap said although BSU, renowned for its academic excellence and is currently designated as a State University and College (SUC) Level IV institution by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), has not housed a medical school until now. The solon added the absence of medical education institutions in the Cordillera Administrative Region has been a longstanding challenge.

According to the Association of Philippine Medical Colleges report in June 2021, only two out of 58 medical colleges are situated in the CAR and the scarcity of medical schools in the region has led to
a considerable financial burden on aspiring doctors, forcing them to bear the costs of transportation and accommodation in pursuit of their medical education.

With the enactment of Republic Act 11970, Yap said the establishment of the Benguet State University College of Medicine is expected to alleviate these challenges adding local residents and
students from neighboring provinces will have the opportunity to pursue medical education within the proximity of their homes, reducing the overall costs associated with obtaining a medical degree.

Yap’s house bill was anchored on the Doktor para sa Bayan Act, which establishes a medical scholarship and return service program for deserving students in SUCs in order to combat doctor shortage in the country which according to a World Bank data, there are one physician for every 1,000 Filipinos. Yap added the passage of the legislation would not be prudent if providing more accessible institutions especially to far-flung rural areas such as Bcnguet and its neighboring provinces in the Cordillera Administrative Region is not met.

Amianan Balita Ngayon