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MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte, Oct. 31 (PIA) -- Seven more college students who are taking up Doctor of Medicine courses in three Cebu-based universities affixed their signatures to a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) Wednesday, October 28, inside the conference room of the Governor’s office.

Out of the seven, five were physically present accompanied by their parents, while two were represented by their parents for they are still having classes, and with this addition the number of medical scholars supported by the provincial government increased to nine with the first two signatories last week.

Among those who personally signed the MOA were Karell Ann Lamban, 23, from Liloan, first year at the University of Cebu; Rhea Charisma Serdan, 21, Maasin City, first year, UC; Lester Clerigo, 21, San Ricardo, first year, UC; Frances Oscar Gaviola, 23, Maasin City first year, UC; and Lanie Mae Goldie, 25, San Ricardo, studying at Cebu Doctors College of Medicine.

Represented by their parents were Dianne Marie Diano, 31, third year, UV-Gullas College of Medicine, and Lesgard John Gonzalez, 24, Cebu Doctors, the two living in this city.

On Tuesday last week, the two pioneer signatories, both schooling at UV-Gullas, were Retchie Jacob Madrona, 25, from Macrohon, and Paula Elisha Cutamora, 24, from this city.

Engr. Jesse Quilantang, Provincial Administrator who acted as the presiding officer, said the province expected a maximum of twenty-five takers of the scholarship offer meant as an enduring solution to the scarcity of practicing doctors as envisioned by Gov. Roger Mercado.

Gov. Mercado was unable to come due to some series of engagements earlier in the day that took a mild toll on his health prompting him to rest, but he gave the go-signal to move on with the MOA signing, Quilantang said.

The other signatories of the MOA, all members of the Hospital Enterprise Board that comprised the scholarship committee, included Dr. Adelaida Asperin, Dr. Zenaida Abiera, Henry Madula the Manager of Philhealth provincial office, Sil Toledo, Cecilia Verano of Maasin Maternity and Children Hospital, and Board Member Atty. Abelardo Almario.

The scholars and their parents all expressed their deep thanks to the provincial government for coming up with the idea of a scholarship program, for this can definitely help a lot in defraying necessary expenses, and they all shared one thing in common: a desire to serve the people as stated in the MOA the moment their dreams turn into reality.

For his part in a brief talk, Board Member Almario challenged the students not to succumb to problems, or concerns, that may crop up along the way, in their lives, studies, and anything in between, telling them to always seek divine guidance.

“Take this opportunity as an inspiration,” Almario advised. (mmp, PIA8-Southern Leyte)