UP Mindanao to open College of Medicine in 2025

May. 08, 2024
Photo from Rene A. Estremera, University of the Philippines Mindanao Public Relations Officer

By Ervince Apatan

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The University of the Philippines (UP) Mindanao campus will be opening its College of Medicine program in 2025, in its effort to produce more doctors to address the shortage of health care professionals for the people.

This was announced Monday, May 6, in a press conference with UP President Angelo Jimenez and UP Mindanao Chancellor Lyre Murao, as they presented their “Road to 5,000 Students” agenda, which is adding more programs or courses that aims to increase the student enrolment of UP Mindanao to 5,000 by year 2029. The current student population of UP Mindanao is around 1,400.

Jimenez said that UP’s offer of its Doctor of Medicine Program seeks to address the shortage of doctors especially in Mindanao, particularly in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The country has a ratio of 3.7 doctors per 10,000 patients, while Davao has a 1:50,000 ratio as of 2023. The World Health Organization standard is 1:1,000 population.

The UP President, a labor lawyer born in Butuan and an alumnus of UP Diliman, says they want to produce graduates, especially in medicine who have a commitment to serve the masses.

“The idea really is that we want to establish the idea that we are a public service university. For over a hundred years, our motto is ‘honor and excellence’. We are going to stress service. Kay ang mga tao kay dili makabenepisyo kung brayt ta, makabenepisyo lang na kung gamiton nato para sa katawhan, (Because people will not benefit just by having intelligence, they will benefit if this is utilized for the people)”Jimenez emphasized.

However, the facility for this new program, which is the Davao City Public Hospital (DCPH) located in UP Mindanao in Bago Oshiro, Mintal, is still under construction. But Jimenez said they will rent out facilities in the government’s Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in J.P. Laurel Avenue. 

“We wanted to do it very fast, we will rent because we don’t want to wait for a building which takes years. We will probably use the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC). We wanted to produce more doctors from Mindanao,” Jimenez stated.

UP Mindanao will open two new programs in the next academic year 2024-25 which are the Associate in Entrepreneurship undergraduate program and the Master of Science in Biology graduate program, which will have four specializations.

For the academic year 2025-26, the campus will offer its Civil Engineering undergraduate program and Master of Science in Quantitative Methods and Modeling.

The new undergraduate courses also lack facilities, as the School of Management which is supposed to house the Associate in Entrepreneurship and its current Agribusiness Economics programs, is also still under construction.    

Jimenez said the university will conduct off-campus classes for those courses by renting facilities in the city.  

The university president is undaunted by the limitations, which allocated a budget of Php 24.771 billion for its eight universities nationwide. He stresses that the university must embody its role as a national state university that “should be accessible as much as possible, to the broadest sector of population, especially in the geographically isolated areas (mostly in) Mindanao.” 

Jimenez also encourages incoming college students to take an alternate enrolment route besides the UP-college aptitude test (UPCAT) by enrolling in UP’s two-year Associate in Art degrees where they can develop their potential. 

He also stated that the testing centers for UPCAT will increase from 102 in 2023 to 113 in 2024, which aims to establish testing centers across all provinces in the country by 2025. (davaotoday.com)

Ervince Apatan is a contributor of Davao Today, currently studying BS Anthropology at the University of the Philippines Mindanao.

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