By Ma. Joreina Therese A. Blanco and Earp Jedaiah Dela Cruz
BATAC CITY, June 23 (PIA) – Medical students in Ilocos Norte can now study for free starting this year as the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) announced that it is ready to provide free tuition fee to all medical students admitted at the MMSU campuses here.
Housed in Batac City, this state university in Ilocos Norte is one among the eight State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) in the country to offer free tuition in medical studies.
“There are eight State Universities and Colleges (SUCs)in the country now offering free medicine course and when you say SUC, it is really subsidized. But this year, for 2017, we were given P39.6 million for the free tuition at the College of Medicine (COM),” Dr. Prima Fe R. Franco, officer-in-charge of the MMSU, said in an interview.
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) earlier announced that a total of P317.1 million will be distributed among the eight identified SUCs offering free medicine course in the country starting school year 2017-2018.
“The budget is only exclusive for provision of tuition fees, not equipment and facility upgrade,” Franco explained.
Now on its second year to offer medical degree, the university expects a maximum of 25 students to be permitted in the batch, as ordered by the CHED.
Jhicel Ibañes, an incoming second year medical student, expressed her joy on the good news.
“For a person like me who belongs to the lower financial bracket and is aspiring to serve my countrymen one day as a doctor, I am quite delighted and very much grateful for this wonderful news that our university was chosen to be one of the state schools to have free tuition next school year. With this, I can assure that I can continue my schooling and definitely in the near future, serve my countrymen,” Ibañes said.
Aside from MMSU, the University of Northern Philippines in Vigan City is also one of the SUCs that will offer free tuition for its medical students. (Ma. Joreina Therese A. Blanco and Earp Jedaiah Dela Cruz/PIA-1,Ilocos Norte)