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ASEAN Medical Sector Feels Birth Pains of Regional Integration

BATANGAS, Jul 1 (Reporting ASEAN) – Heroism is found at the emergency room of the Lipa City District Hospital, a Philippine medical facility that’s staffed with a few doctors.

Dr. Celia Libera is one hero, dedicating six days a week —“24 hours straight” per day, for three years now, she claims— to meet the demands of “too many patients.”line

And for what: a net pay of PhP28,000 (US$US 622), for lunch and dinner that’s always delayed —4 p.m. and 11 p.m.? “That’s how it is,” 41-year-old Libera said, “because you first have to think of the patient.”

What about one’s return of investment given the economic cost of studying medicine? The ROI’s lure can be found elsewhere, like in neighboring Southeast Asian countries. Doctors in Malaysia can earn US$1,000-1,300, or triple (US$3,000) when practicing in Singapore.

But like in any other destination country, that host nation’s rules and regulations are what foreign workers follow. Like licensure exams. There’s only one step for many Southeast Asian countries’ aspiring doctors to get that medical license. It’s three steps in Thailand. Five in Singapore.

This is the second story in a two-part feature set in The Filipino Connection:

Read the first story here.

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