Gov. Cua seeks easier terms in scholars’ mandatory return service

Governor Joseph C. Cua last week called for not-too-stringent terms in the mandatory return service to be provided by medicine and law scholars of the provincial government in the near future.

In the meeting of the Catanduanes Medicine and Law Scholarship Board chaired by the chief executive, it was pointed out that the implementing guidelines of the program should not discount the possibility that the scholar, upon passing the licensure or bar examination, could opt for the repayment of all costs that the government incurred for their studies.

Under Section 18 of the guidelines, a scholar shall render mandatory return service upon passing the licensure examination, for a period equivalent to one year for every scholarship year availed of under the program.

For Doctors of Medicine, the service shall be in addition to the required post-internship after graduation, with residency training not considered as return service.

Lawyers, on the other hand, shall render 120 hours of pro bono legal aid services within the first year of admission to the bar.

Those who fail to pass the bar or medical board exam shall still render the service, “in whatever capacity” to the province, the provision states.

In the event the scholar fails or refused to comply with the mandatory return services, he or she shall be required to pay in full cost or in staggered basis, the scholarship benefits and expenses equivalent to the current average tuition fees of medical and law schools.

The repayment scheme to be submitted by the defaulting scholar will have to be considered and approved by the board.

The payments are to be deposited in the scholarship program’s trust fund to further the education of other scholars.

Institutionalized under Provincial Ordinance No. 010-2021 approved by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan on March 29, 2021 and recently amended, the program will provide each scholar a maximum of P150,000 annually for tuition and other school fees, P20,000 per semester as book allowance, P3,000 per year as uniform allowance, P2,000 per month as transportation allowance plus an additional P4,000 per year for vacation break, P7,000 to P15,000 per month as lodging fees, P7,000 per month as living allowance, and one-month summer internship allowance to be served in the provincial government.

In addition, the medicine scholars will receive P15,000 as internship fee and the same amount for medical board review fees while the lawyer scholars will get P20,000 for their bar review fees.

To stay in the program, they must sign a contract, carry the full load of subjects per semester without dropping any course, and finish the entire program within the prescribed time frame.

They must likewise submit liquidation reports of all expenses and disbursements at the end of every year.

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