GENERAL SANTOS CITY (PNA) – Officials here and nearby Sarangani province are pushing for the conversion of the Mindanao State University’s (MSU) College of Medicine extension program here into a separate unit.
South Cotabato First District Rep. Shirlyn Bañas-Nograles said Monday she filed a proposed bill last October 1, together with Sarangani lone district Rep. Rogelio Pacquiao, seeking the establishment of a “full-fledged and autonomous” College of Medicine for the area.
She said the move was aimed to separate the administration of the existing College of Medicine of MSU General Santos from the system’s main campus in Marawi City.
“It will hopefully improve the governance and fiscal capacity of both institutions,” she said in a statement.
Under House Bill No. 7809, Nograles said the College of Medicine here will receive separate funding from the national government.
She said it will also enable the college to increase its capacity in terms of training future doctors for the region and eventually bridge the “wide gap” in the patient-physician ratio in the region.
Citing data gathered by her office, she said a total of 114 physicians are currently taking care of the region’s over 4.5 million population.
“The ongoing (coronavirus disease or COVID-19) pandemic has made this disparity all the more apparent and stressed the necessity of training more doctors locally moving forward,” she said.
Nograles said more “poor yet deserving” students will also have a realistic opportunity to acquire topnotch medical training at a lower cost being a state university.
The MSU College of Medicine was supposed to formally open this school year but was deferred due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
MSU Chancellor Dr. Anshari Ali earlier said they decided “not to push through” with the planned operationalization of the new college starting school year 2020-2021 due to the lack of enough time to prepare for the start of formal classes last August.
The MSU system’s Board of Regents issued early this year Resolution No. 507, series of 2020, allowing the proposed College of Medicine here to open starting August as an extension of the MSU-main campus’s (in Marawi City) College of Medicine.
University officials, in coordination with Nograles, decided to utilize classrooms of the Graduate School for its classes pending the completion of its own building within the extension campus at the city proper.
The construction of the College of Medicine’s STEAMS (Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, Mathematics and Sustainability) building, which was supported by Nograles and Senator Emmanuel Pacquiao, started last February.