Cua okays scholarships for would-be doctors, lawyers
posted 30-Jul-2018  ·  
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College students who dream of becoming doctors or lawyers will now be able to pursue their studies with the help of the provincial government after Governor Joseph Cua signed last week an ordinance providing scholarships for the two courses as well as masteral and doctoral degree courses.

Last week, the chief executive approved the ordinance institutionalizing the Specialized Higher Education Scholarship Program for Catandunganons, fulfilling the promise he made in his last State of the Province Address (SOPA) in 2017.

He expressed his gratitude to the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan headed by Vice Governor Shirley Abundo.

An initial funding of P5 million has been allocated for the program to be sourced from available savings of the province.

“Kulang pa an mga doktor asin abogado uya sa sato.  Dahil free tuition na kita, an sobrang pondo sa scolarships, i-alokar niato sa planong magbukas ning scholarship grants sa deserving na mga estudyanteng gustong magin doctor asin abogado, pati na man itong mga ga-pursue nin higher learning on the condition that they will have to serve the province for a maximum of five (5) years,” Cua had stated in his SOPA in October 2017.

Sponsored by PBM Rafael Zuniega, the ordinance provides that instead of the original five year-service, the full grantees will instead render obligatory return service of one year for every two scholarship years, while partial scholarship grantees, as well as masteral or doctoral scholars, will render service of at least one year for every year of scholarship.

The measure noted the scarcity of highly-skilled professionals such as medical doctors, lawyers or other specialists in various fields of study in the province despite the availability of vacant positions in the provincial government for such professionals.

Under the program, the provincial government invests in human resources to address this lack of skilled professionals and gives an opportunity to poor but deserving Catandunganon students to serve the community through the mandatory integration, thus ensuring a steady supply of such professionals.

Scholarship applicants must be bonafide residents of Catanduanes who have actually resided therein for at least five (5) years prior to the application. They must be of good moral character, has no pending criminal case and must not have been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude.

Their family or personal incomes must not be sufficient to finance or complete their education in the course or degree being applied for and they must be in good health so they will be able to graduate and then serve the mandatory return service.

Applicants must also have a general weighted average of 1.75 or its equivalent in the undergraduate program identified as a pre-requisite for the law or medicine degree course or masteral or doctoral program, with no failing grade in any subject.

The prospective law or medicine student must likewise must pass and obtain a rating of 85% in Philippine Law School Admission Test (PhilSAT), or at least 90% in the National Medical Admission Test (NMAT).

They will have to hurdle a panel interview to be conducted by the Catanduanes Specialized Higher Education Scholarship Board to be chaired by the governor.

Grantees can be granted either full or partial scholarship. Under full scholarship, the province will grant assistance in tuition and other fees ranging from the actual amount but not exceeding P150,000 per year; allowance for prescribed books worth P20,000; clothing or uniform and transportation allowance both for P2,000; and allowance for dormitory and stipend for P7000 monthly.

The province will also shoulder the internship fees of medicine students and their review fees, and for law students, their bar review fees.

Students who are currently completing medicine or law studies can also avail of partial scholarships, which will grant P10,000 per year as allowance for prescribed books, P2,000 in clothing or uniform allowance, P2,000 transportation allowance per semester, and P7,000 monthly as dormitory and stipend allowance. Medicine students will also be given assistance of P10,000 for internship fees and P10,000 for review fees while law students will get P10,000 for bar review fees.

Those currently taking up or planning to enroll in masteral or doctoral degree courses will be able to enjoy the scholarship in the form of actual tuition and other fees plus book allowance of P10,000.00 per semester.

The grantees are mandated to enroll in state colleges and universities in the Bicol region. If the course they are enrolling is not available in the SCUs in the region, they will be allowed to enroll in private higher educational institutions in the same region.

The province is now encouraging interested individuals to apply for the scholarship, with the technical committee now finalizing online forms to be uploaded at the official website of the province.

To qualify, the applicant must submit the following requirements: application form, official or certified transcript of records, certified true copy of diploma, barangay certification of residency, copy of latest family (combined) Income Tax Return, Certificate of Good Moral Character issued by the school, and, in the case of prospective medicine or law students, copy of the NMAT or PhilSAT test results or Intarmed Program of the University of the Philippines (UP).

The applicants will be evaluated based on their academics as well as professional and development priorities and needs of the province.

A scholar who fails to pass the bar examinations or licensure examinations within one (1) years after graduation or post-graduate internship for that matter, shall shoulder all the necessary expenses for the succeeding bar or professional licensure exams.

If the scholar fails to comply with the mandatory return service, he or she will be required to pay twice the full cost of the scholarship. In case of non-payment, the Board may recommend to the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) or the Supreme Court the revocation of the doctor’s license or the lawyer’s disbarment, as the case may be.

The scholar is also mandated to repay the full cost of scholarship if the scholarship is terminated due to the following reasons: acceptance of another scholarship; failure to meet academic requirements of the school; failure to complete the course; failure to re-enroll after the approved leave of absence; failure to pass the bar or licensure exam for the second time; transfer to another school or shift to another course without prior approval from the Board; and, commission of behavioral misconduct in a manner that would bring significant damage to the school, persons, community and the provincial government of Catanduanes.

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