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P154-million UP campus to rise in Aurora

BALER, Aurora , Philippines   — A P154-million extension campus of the University of the Philippines-School of Health and Sciences will rise in this capital town to accommodate the influx of health students from five provinces in Central Luzon and Northern Luzon.

Sen. Edgardo Angara told reporters here that the UPSHS-Baler campus will rise at a five-hectare site in Barangay Reserva. An initial P20 million will be used for the construction of the first six classrooms in the site which will also house the administration building.

Angara, along with House Deputy Majority Leader Juan Edgardo Angara, Gov. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo and Mayor Arthur Angara, led the ceremonial ground-breaking for the UPSHS-Baler campus here Tuesday,

UP vice chancellor Josefina Tayag said that the UPSHS was established in the province because of the desire of the state university to come up with health services in the countryside. She recalled that the UP Board of Regents also approved in August last year the establishment of an extension campus in Koronadal.

Dean Jusie Lydia Siega-Sur said the medical school is only the second such school of the university’s School of Health Sciences (SHS) outside Metro Manila. The local campus started operations last year but held office temporarily inside the Zabali campus of the ASCOT here.

The UPSHS-Baler campus initially enrolled 69 students, 27 of whom came from the province. The rest came from the provinces of Quirino, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya and Nueva Ecija. The school offer health courses intended to produce graduates in midwifery, nursing and medicine to solve the dearth of health professionals in the countryside caused by the mass exodus of doctors, nurses and midwives for greener pastures abroad.

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The UPSHS-Baler campus, will be the first UP specialized school on health in Luzon with another one to rise in Mindanao, possibly in Koronadal, South Cotabato to cater to the provinces of North and South Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat and Shariff Kabunsuan.

The students were enrolled in the ladderized education curriculum which is unique as it is community sponsored and the people in the impact zone have a stake in the selection of scholars. The student scholar is bound by a social contract wherein he is required to go back to his community and render health service, thus applying the knowledge he gained from the program.

Julia Elisa Puertollano, director of the UPSHS-Baler said each student will avail of free tuition fees which would be shouldered by the local government units (LGUs) in the beneficiary areas and the community.

Aside from free tuition, the student would be provided with living subsidy, book and transportation allowance and uniforms worth P24,000 annually.

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